It were my soul’s desire to imitate my King,
It were my soul’s desire His ceaseless praise to sing.
It were my soul’s desire when heaven’s gate is won
To find my soul’s desire clear shining like the sun.
- Anonymous, “The Soul’s Desire,” Early Irish
For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
- 2 Corinthians 4.6
The longing of the soul is to participate in God (2 Pet. 1.4). Your soul. My soul. The soul of every person. It is our souls’ desire to see the face of God, “clear shining like the sun.” Can you feel the longing in your own soul, as you contemplate that possibility?
Happily, this is God’s longing for us as well, that we might know Him, as it were, face to face. He mediates this blessing and satisfies the desire of our souls through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. In the face of Jesus is all the radiating glory we need in order to know God and enter more completely into Him.
But what does this mean, to see the face of Jesus?
The face of God in Scripture is often associated with the Word and Spirit of God (cf. Ps. 119.135, Ezek. 39.29). Since the Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus and the Word is focused above all on Jesus (Jn. 5.39), we must believe that the face of Jesus – the radiant glory of God – will emerge from the pages of Scripture, like some mysterious and wondrous “Magic Eye” picture, as we read, study, meditate, and wait on the Spirit of God to illuminate the eyes of our hearts.
Jesus is the “focusing Light” of Scripture. Everything in Scripture points to Him, and He is filling everything in every place with the Light of His ascended glory (Eph. 4.8-10).
But there is more.
In addition to the beautiful accounts of our Lord in the gospels, Scripture provides glimpses of the face of Jesus, imaginative and compelling descriptions, which can lift our spirits, inspire our minds, and fuel our longing for deeper intimacy with God (cf. Rev. 1; Ps. 45; etc.).
By taking these descriptions as our particular focus – in meditation, prayer, singing, and conversation with other believers – we can begin to nurture a clearer and more compelling vision of the face of Jesus.
As we do, the glory of God will draw us, enfold us, pervade us, and work its transforming power in us to grant us more of the eternal life which is ours in Jesus (Jn. 17.3). As we behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, the Spirit transforms into that same image (2 Cor. 3.12-18), from glory (beheld) to glory (expressed in even the most ordinary activities of life, 1 Cor. 10.31). By setting the Lord always before us (Ps. 16.8) and fixing our minds on the things that are above, where Christ is seated in heavenly places (Col. 3.1-3), we can know fullness of joy and holy pleasures forevermore, regardless of whatever else may be happening in our lives (Ps. 16.11).
God has prepared the way for us to draw closer to Him and thus to satisfy the deep desire of our souls. As we indulge our soul’s desire, we are transformed, and the Light of Christ is refracted through us into all our relationships, roles, and responsibilities.
Assuming, that is, that your soul’s desire truly is to see the glory of God in the face of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God holds out the prospect of meeting Him in His glory.
Is this your soul’s desire?
1. When was the last time you set your heart and mind to see the glory in Jesus’ face?
2. How can this become more consistently part of your daily walk with and work for the Lord?
Psalm 19.7-11 (St. Christopher: Beneath the Cross of Jesus)
The Law of God is perfect, His testimony sure;
the simple man God’s wisdom learns, the soul receives its cure.
God’s Word is right, and His command is pure, and truth imparts;
He makes our eyes to understand; with joy He fills our hearts.
The fear of God is cleansing, forever shall it last.
His judgments all are true and just, by righteousness held fast.
O seek them more than gold most fine, than honey find them sweet;
be warned by every word and line; be blest with joy complete.
Show me the glory in Your face, Lord Jesus, so that I…
Would you see Jesus?
Our ReVision series, We Would See Jesus, can help you learn to set your mind more constantly on our reigning Lord and King. You can download the entire series for free by clicking here.
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T. M. Moore
All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 Hull, pp. 142, 143.