Let us build on the Lord, as though on a foundation of faith, with gold, silver and precious stones, raising a temple of holiness (1 Corinthians 3:12). Let us build, that is to say, with pure undebased theology, with a way of life that is lucid and radiant, with divine thoughts and conceptual images more precious than jewels. Let us not use wood, hay or stubble, that is, idolatry — which is a passionate desire for sensible things — or a meaningless way of life, or thoughts which are impassioned and as empty of wise understanding as straw.
If a man seeks spiritual knowledge, let him plant the foundations of his soul immovably before the Lord, in accordance with God’s words to Moses: ‘Stand here by Me’ (Deuteronomy 5:31). But it should be realized that there are differences among those who stand before the Lord, as is clear from the text, ‘There are some standing here who will not taste death till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power’ (Mark 9:1). For the Lord does not always appear in glory to all who stand before Him. To beginners He appears in the form of a servant (Philippians 2:7); to those able to follow Him as He climbs the high mountain of His transfiguration He appears in the form of God (Matthew 17:1-9), the form in which He existed before the world came to be (John 17:5).
It is therefore possible for the same Lord not to appear in the same way to all who stand before Him, but to appear to some in one way and to others in another way, according to the measure of each person’s faith.
~St Maximos the Confessor