Since I travel a lot to conduct revival seminars and evangelistic meetings, I have sometimes encountered expressions of surprise on the faces of people who had formed a picture of me in their minds. Some have vocalized their expectations:
"I thought you would be older."
"I thought you would be taller."
"I thought you would be more solemn looking."
No one has ever told me I looked exactly like they had imagined. (I hope the disappointments have been few.) In more recent years seminar advertisements have included a photo of the speaker. It is so much easier now to get picked up at the airport. My host or hostess knows exactly which face is mine amid the crowd departing the plane.
The fact is, without a photo, it is virtually impossible to form an accurate picture of a person we have never seen. And yet we attempt to do it all the time. We can't help ourselves. We automatically construct mental pictures of people we have never met. Not only do we form pictures of what we think they might look like, we also develop ideas about their personalities. We are often surprised to discover a person is different than we had expected.
We do the same thing with God. From what we hear other people say about Him, and from our personal experiences in life, we form a picture in our minds of what we think God is like. Many people hold in their minds a picture of God that keeps them from approaching Him. They hate the God they see. Others have developed a view of God that leads them to serve Him like slaves. They are afraid of the God they see. Then there are some who relate to Him as a friend. They must see a beautiful picture of God.
A photo of the Lord would be helpful, don't you think? Then we wouldn't have to guess or go by what others say about Him. Well, believe it or not, God has sent us a photo of Himself. It's not a photo of His face however. It's a picture of His character.
"For God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined 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.
There it is. God's self-portrait has been given to the world in the person of Jesus Christ. We need not depend on our misguided imaginations to know God's character. All we need to do is behold Jesus. By looking at His life, listening to His teachings, and acquainting ourselves with how He related to people, we can form a right conception of our heavenly Father.
Jesus claimed to be the transparent medium through which God is made known. As His earthly ministry was drawing to a close, Philip made a request on behalf of all the disciples: "Show us the Father" John 14:8. NKJV. No doubt, they wanted to see God in person. Actually, they had, but didn't realize it. Jesus responded, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father" verse 9.
Jesus could have said it this way: "Do you see how I live, how I care, how I heal, how I love? This is what God is like. I am the living personification the unobstructed channel, the mirror reflection of God's true character."
(Can you get a different picture of God now? I use to have a horrible picture of Him, but God has helped me through the years to change that picture in my mind. He will help you too. Sometimes we view God as we do our real father or a step father and if they were kind and loving we picture God in the same way but if they were the opposite, we then view God that way. God help us to see His kind and loving nature as we view and study the life of Jesus. Grandma Joan)