Summary: How God transforms us into His image and 4 things we need to do to change.
October 17, 2010
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 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.”
One of Denmark’s leading sculptors had a burning ambition to create the greatest statue of Jesus ever made. He began by shaping a clay model of a triumphant, regal figure. The head was thrown back and the arms were upraised in a gesture of great majesty. It was his conception of Christ the King: Strong, Dominant.
"This will be my masterpiece," he said on the day the model was completed. But, during the night a heavy fog rolled into the area and sea-spray seeped through a partially opened window of the artist’s ocean-side studio. The moisture affected the shape of the model. When the artist returned to the studio in the morning, he was shocked to find a wounded figure. The drops of moisture that had formed on the statue created the illusion of bleeding. The head had drooped. The facial expression had been transformed from severity to compassion. And the arms had dropped into an attitude of welcome. The artist stared at the figure, agonizing over the time wasted and the need to begin all over again. But something came over him to change his mood. He began to see that this image of Christ was the truer one. Then he wrote at the base of the newly-shaped figure: "Come unto Me"
What is the mental picture you have of Jesus? Is He the Conquering King or the Suffering Servant? Is He the angry Judge or the Compassionate Healer? Does He have a whip in His hands or a towel? Those are all accurate pictures of Jesus – but the one most prominent is the one that most influences your life.
There is another story of a statue I read recently. A pastor had the opportunity to go to Italy and visited the city of Florence. He says,
“A highlight of the trip was visiting Florence, the great city of the Renaissance. One afternoon out of curiosity I went to a museum where some of the works of Michelangelo were displayed. As we viewed the half-finished sculpture of St. Matthew the tour guide explained that this unfinished work was a prime example of Michelangelo’s philosophy of art. He believed that in a stone there was a figure or statue waiting to be released. The work of the artist was to free the statue from the stone. The statute was so lifelike that I thought any minute St. Matthew might just step out of that huge stone.
The pastor said, “As I looked at the half-finished statute, I could see that the artist had begun to free the statue but had not been able to complete it.” The tour guide went on to explain that Michelangelo had numerous works he never finished.
God has begun a work in us to conform or ‘transform’ us to the image of Christ. Unlike Michelangelo, God does not stop working in our lives until he finishes what he intends to accomplish.
C.S. Lewis wrote: “If we let Him - for we can prevent Him, if we choose - He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful; but that is what we are in for.”
C. S. Lewis says, “Our Lord is like the dentists. If you give Him an inch, He will take a yard. Dozens of people go to Him to be cured of some particular sin which they are ashamed of or which is obviously spoiling daily life. Well, He will cure it all right: but He will not stop there. That may be all you asked; but if once you call Him in, He will give you the full treatment.
That is why He warned people to 'count the cost' before becoming Christians. 'Make no mistake; He says, 'if you let me, I will make you perfect. The moment you put yourself in My hands, that is what you are in for. Nothing less, or other, than that. You have free will, and if you choose, you can push Me away. But if you do not push Me away, understand that I am going to see this job through. Whatever suffering it may cost you in your earthly life, whatever inconceivable purification it may cost you after death, whatever it costs Me, I will never rest, nor let you rest, until you are literally perfect-until my Father can say without reservation that He is well pleased with you - as He said He was well pleased with me. This I can do and will do. But I will not do anything less.'