2 Corinthians 3:18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Anyone who is in Christ because they have been born again by faith reflects His glory, which is wonderful in itself. We do need to remember that it’s not our own glory but His, however. When we start thinking it’s our own glory – and I’ve seen it happen – we get into real trouble, because as He said so clearly through Isaiah, God does not give His glory to others. (Isaiah 42:8) That’s why it’s all the more remarkable that He lets us reflect His glory. Jesus was the perfect representation of the Father, (Colossians 1:15) which is to say, a perfectly undistorted reflection. Thus, when we are transformed into the likeness of Christ, we present fewer and fewer distortions as we reflect His glory. If that seems desirable, the next question is, how? Paul answers that here as well: it’s the work of the Holy Spirit. The more we yield ourselves to the work of the Spirit, bearing His fruit, (Galatians 5:22-23) the more He transforms us into the likeness of Christ. And no, that doesn’t mean we all get long hair and a beard! This is not talking about externals, but about our very nature. From the moment we are born again we receive the nature of Christ, and spiritual growth is the process of that nature supplanting our fleshly nature. That’s certainly something to look forward to!
This is something I thankfully see in myself, and I have seen it in many others. As a pastor, I seek to help others believe that it is possible for them, because sadly, many struggle in that area. They are very aware of their own imperfections and they don’t see how they could reflect the glory of God. There are two parts to my task here. The first is to help them lift their eyes off of themselves, because so many are like armadillos or pangolins, so self-absorbed in their fears that they are rolled up into a ball and unable to do anything. Along with that, I need to help them open up to the work of the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to do the “remodeling” they need for the transformation Paul is talking about. Actually, rather than separate tasks, these are two sides to the same coin, because one won’t happen without the other. I need to recognize what the Lord has done and is continuing to do in me, so that I may encourage that in others. At the same time, I must remember that the work is far from complete in me, any more than it was in Paul. (Philippians 3:12) I too must open up more and more to the work of the Holy Spirit, taking my eyes off of myself, so that He will be free to do the Father’s will in and through me.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for the things You’ve been allowing me to go through recently to make further corrections. That hasn’t always felt good at the moment, but I know Your results are always good. Help me be the encouraging mentor You want me to be to those in my care, so that together we may indeed reflect Your glory, drawing many to salvation. Thank You. Hallelujah!