Images force us to react. Blue lights in your rearview mirror, the check engine light in your dash, the yellow caution light, and the notifications on your phone all demand you react in some way. These impersonal images, through no real power of their own, force you to interact with them. Even in listing those images, there is an inescapable emotional response.
All images work that way. That is why movies, Instagram, Facebook, porn, and video games are so very powerful and addictive. We live for likes. These images allow us to become both spectator and star of our own existence. We can find ourselves in a virtual reality where the only real value is our emotional response to the images which are inadvertently ruling our eyeballs, reshaping our brains, and eating away at our souls.
Surely, we can acknowledge that these images have become our glory. We glory in them and we find glory in our image being “glorified.” God calls that foolish. “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things” (Rom. 1:23).
We have exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for the image of the corruptible. We shouldn’t wonder then why we suffer from identity problems, depressive tendencies, overwhelming emptiness, and continual search for meaning. Every image we value is corruptible—fading away into nothing, meaningless, and powerless for true virtue. Just as Isaiah said, “and they will look to the earth, but behold distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness” (Is. 8:22). “Woe” is pronounced on those who “do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the LORD!” (Is. 31:1).
But there is another image which God has put forth as the true beacon for our souls. This image isn’t best seen. It is best heard. It is the image of the cross and empty tomb. The image we crave is the crucified Lamb that was slain, the Lion of Judah who defeated death, the Son of Man who is the Son of God, the Alpha and Omega. He has nail-pierced hands and feet. His head is scarred by the humiliating crown that brought glory.
Let us then “behold the man.” Psalm 123:1-2 says, “To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens! Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, and as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us.” The blessed Christian age is described as “that day” in which “man will look to his Maker, and his eyes will look on the Holy One of Israel” (Is. 17:7).
Doesn’t the image of the risen Lord pull at your heart? Let that image, the image of God, pull you and shape you and save you. Look to the Lord. Come to Jesus.
“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:1-2).