Archive for September, 2015
“We, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Transformation into Christlikeness is the process of a lifetime. Day by day, moment by moment, as we give ourselves to the bidding of God’s Spirit dwelling within us, His glory, in ever-increasing measure, springs forth. This glory, yearning to be revealed, is veiled by many things – sin, attitudes that are negative, critical, and judgmental; religious pretense and hypocrisy. All of these mask the work of God’s love, grace, and mercy that has been accomplished within us.
Rise and Shine each day for His glory.
“Finally, brethren ,whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things” (Philippians 4:9).
The ability to view, process, and live life biblically and theologically instead of culturally and humanistically cannot be accomplished apart from disciplined intentionality. It is something that must be kept at the forefront of our minds. This transformed perspective starts with not wanting what you now want. Whatever we really want, whatever we think about, whatever we dwell upon is destined to become the reality of who and what we are.
I’m not thinking, necessarily, about those things that drag us down, but the lack of thought and contemplation that is given to those things that lift us up. It’s how easily we settle for mediocrity – mediocre television, books, music, or whatever. It’s not that we want too much but, rather, we are willing to settle for so little.
Don’t just settle for whatever; aspire only to whatever lifts your life to heavenly heights.
“And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him” (Matthew 17:3).
As representatives of the Law (which necessitates our need for a savior) and the prophets (which anticipate the coming of a Messiah), the presence of Moses and Elijah affirms to Jesus that the path to Jerusalem is, indeed, the fulfillment of the eternal purposes of God. Thus, the transfiguration experience of Jesus affirms for us, as well, that the path of faithful living that we have committed to Him is not in vain.
“And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light” (Matthew 17:2).
While Jesus normally appeared as any other Galilean peasant, the transfiguration revealed who and what he really was, as his Divine nature was allowed to shine through in all its glory. The transfiguration, however, isn’t just about Jesus. It’s also about us. What Jesus was, and is, is the very thing we are becoming (See 2 Corinthians 3:18). What the gospel of transformation is bringing forth in our fruit-bearing lives is a confirmation of who we are as children of God.
“Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves” (Matthew 17:1).
The three accompanying Jesus, and who would be witnesses to our Lord’s transfiguration, are counted as the inner circle from among the twelve disciples. While some would consider this a privileged position of intimacy, others speculate that Jesus kept them close because they needed the most work. Regardless, the fact is we all have an inner with whom we are more closely associated. The question for our devotional consideration is, “What does our inner circle see in us?” Would they testify that a transfiguration is being accomplished in our lives as the transforming power of the gospel is being allowed to shape us into Christlikeness?
“He said, ‘I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself’” (Genesis 3:10).
The shame and guilt of sin leads to a debilitating form of fear that imprisons and deprives one of the redeeming work of restoration and renewal that God desires to accomplish in our lives. We must not view fear as a giant that cannot be overcome but as a shadow we must go through. Any fear that goes unchallenged becomes a barrier to our future. Everything we desire in life lies on the other side of fear. What would your life look like today if you decided to live unafraid? It’s not just possible; it’s necessary.
“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings” (Genesis 3:7).
The first attempted cover up of wrongs committed wasn’t Nixon at Watergate but Adam and Eve in the Garden. Instead of our sins turning us toward God, human tendency is to turn away and cover our backs by casting blame and making excuses. Only by taking ownership of our sins are we able to discover reconciliation, redemption, and the opportunity to move forward.
“Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior” (1Peter 1:13-15).
The development of the mind is a vital part of the Christian experience. If ultimate Truth is to be found, known, and proven in the life of Christ then philosophical integrity requires that all knowledge comes from Him and all knowledge leads to Him. This conviction provides a basis for curiosity, creativity, and an energy toward learning; a framework for pondering all knowledge. Only Christianity offers an arena for the complexity and open-mindedness required for true learning. Secularism is bound and limited by human capacity. Christianity’s pursuit of Truth is boundless under the sovereignty of God who, himself, is creative, mysterious, and longs to be discovered.
Think about it.
“For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men” (1 Peter 2:15).
Doing right by our faith isn’t the occasional performance of a few religious acts – going to church on Sunday, attending Bible Study, praying when a reason to do so presents itself, or conjuring up a “spiritualized” vocabulary when you run into your pastor. This compartmentalized approach to the Christian faith is a far cry from the desires of the One who has redeemed us. His rightful jurisdiction lays claim to every segment and moment of our lives. The One who has given us all things demands all things. He wants nothing from us, but us. Let’s do it up right.
“When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate” (Genesis 3:6).
The argument, “The devil made me do it,” simply doesn’t hold water. The first recorded sin was nothing more than a willful act of disobedience. It always is. When we allow our senses, emotions, and perceptions to dictate our actions instead of a rational understanding of God’s word poor decision-making follows. While it’s easier to call ourselves victims than sinners, don’t be deceived. Obedience and disobedience are both an act of the will.