Summary: God’s glory gives us the ability to make powerful changes in our lives.
Happy New Year! It seems like each January we are faced with changes. That word change has been in the news much lately. Each of the presidential candidates claims they are the one who will bring change to our country. On a personal level, lots of people make resolutions in January, things in our lives that we want to change. Last year I wanted to improve my health so I decided to eat more healthy foods, to stop drinking diet sodas so I also stopped eating most processed and artificial foods. Over all, I kept most of the resolution, I do occasionally treat myself to a Coke Zero or some unhealthy treat though. This year I didn’t make any resolutions, It’s not that I don’t have things in my life that I need to change, I just didn’t have anything major come to mind (yet!).
I think that when we put our mind to changing something in our life, we have to be careful. I think it’s good to try and change the inappropriate or bad things, but I don’t know if you are anything like me, but when I make up my mind to change something, it almost seems as though the FOCUS on that very thing makes it an obsession and almost harder to kick. If you have every tried to diet, it seems as soon as you start, everyone has goodies to share, if you try and quit smoking, it seems that all you can think about is your next cigarette.
I key word here is FOCUS. Where are we focusing when we try to change? Usually it’s on ourselves and the very habit or behavior we want to change. What I would like to suggest to you in our effort to change is moving our focus from us or our habit or behavior or addiction, and shifting it to God and what brings him the most glory. You might be familiar with this passage from 2 Corinthians 3:17: Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. It’s a popular passage with teachers and students of the word who are trying to break free of something or make a change in their lives. It was even made into a popular song a couple of years ago, the worship leader would sing “Where the Spirit of the Lord is” and the worshipers would yell “There is Freedom” But I would like us to keep reading in 2 Corinthians on to the next verse (18) And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s gory, are being transformed (changed) into his image with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Let’s look at this passage more closely. Who are those with unveiled faces? It’s those of us who have a relationship with God through his Son Jesus Christ. When Jesus died on the cross for our sins, the veil that separated people from God was torn. We are able to have a close personal relationship with God. Our faces are unveiled in his presence. Our unveiled face has no covering; it is not masked from God. There are no secrets; nothing is kept back. We lay it all out before our Father.
Our text says those of us with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory and are being transformed into his image with ever increasing glory. When we contemplate, we think about it. I often think about the Glory of the Lord. What does it mean, The Lord’s Glory? It’s hard to describe. God does everything for his Glory, his own sake. God’s glory is represented by his presence such as in the pillar of fire or the cloud the Israelites experienced in the wilderness. God’s glory is his famousness, his splendor his greatness. His Awesomeness. When we contemplate his glory, we think about his renown and power. In 2 Peter 1:3 & 4, the Bible tells us that His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness his glory, his power, his Holiness along with his goodness to us. It goes on to say through these he has given us very great and precious promises, so that we may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption of the world caused by evil desires. We can participate, partner with God, share with him, as we reflect on his glory we can escape the corruption of evil desires. Aren’t those evil desires the root of many of the things that we are trying to change in our lives? Our evil desires cause us to mistreat our bodies, to bring heartache and pain to those around us by our actions, this evil part of our nature shows itself in our greed and gluttony, it paves the way for the sins that separate us from God.