How does the Spirit of Christ change us? What is that light Jesus has that makes His people so different? And how is it that when He indwells us–that while we yet remain still totally human–He changes us into someone nonetheless very different from the person we would otherwise have been–and from those who do not yet possess Christ?
“And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18 AMP)
Several weeks ago, I ran some errands around seven o’clock in the evening, just before the sun set. As I drove, I was struck by something I had never before noticed: the color of the trees. They were brilliant beyond anything you could ever imagine! The bare trunks, still devoid of any foliage, were an incredible color–a brown, and at the same time an amazing shade of rose and golden–unlike anything I ever remembered seeing. The beauty of it all indelibly impressed me with the graciousness of our Creator in instilling within the context of nature a perfect object lesson for our spiritual life!
You see, in late March in northern Indiana where we live these barren trunks are typically a nondescript grayish brown–part of the overall landscape, yet not particularly differentiated from the entirety of it all in any special way. They’re just there, blending into the background–not unlike the mass of humanity around us.
And without the illuminating transformation of Christ’s Spirit in us, we are all just there in our natural-born state of the muck and mire of our abysmal humanness. We are lost–a dark grayish-brown only-one-shade-away-from-black miserable, missing something, yet not knowing what it is that we need–until the light of Christ shines on us. Yet the difference between having been touched by His light and still being in the dark is the difference between day and night. Touched by the righteousness of Christ–by the forgiveness, the hopefulness, the joy–while still completely human, we are luminescent and radiant and light!
The Bible has many verses which try to explain Jesus, the light He has, and the transformation He effects on us:
“…[Jesus] was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.” (John 1:9)
“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.‘, (John 8:12)
“Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever. ” (Daniel 12:3)
“The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.” (Matthew 4:16)
“…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life…” (Philippians 2:12-16)
Because God is light, as we continue to look at Him–to read His Word, to pray, to meditate on Him, to worship Him–he transforms us “into His very own image.” Just as God’s glory reflected onto Moses, the more time we spend with Him, His glory reflects onto us “in ever increasing splendor,” and this comes from the work of His Spirit in us. Conversely, the more time we spend away from Him in other things–whether entertainment, excessive busyness or anything else–the less His glory fills us, and the more gray–less like Him and more like the world around us–we become!
Help us faithfully continue to look at You, that we may be transfigured into Your image from Your glory to Your glory in us! Amen.