2 Corinthians 3:18 “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another...”
By: Justin Seale, Director of Local Missions, Houston’s First Baptist Church
May 18, 2019
Transformation is a difficult process. Often it means cutting calories, or adding time exercising, but in one’s spiritual life it seems simple. Paul wrote that when one “behold[s] the glory of the Lord” we will be transformed. Beholding doesn’t sound that hard, or at least it seems easy enough. However, anyone following Jesus for any length of time knows that transformation, and with it - spiritual awakening, come with great difficulty.
How do we behold the glory of the Lord?
Beholding the Lord begins with believing that the Good News of Jesus is personal. My sin must be forgiven; not someone else’s. Through our faith in Jesus, the veil is removed from our hearts, and we can have a true relationship with God (2 Cor. 3:16; Eph. 2:8-9).
This new relationship transforms us giving freedom - not to obey sin, but instead to obey Jesus and all he commanded (2 Cor. 3:17; Matt. 28:19-20; John 8:32; Gal. 5:13-26). This new relationship transforms us in other ways: God gives us a ministry (2 Cor. 3:5-6), makes us sufficient to do that ministry (2 Cor. 3:6, 4:1, 5:18-20), which all leads to God being glorified through thanksgiving as grace extends to more and more people (2 Cor. 4:15).
So why is transformation so hard?
Spiritual transformation is difficult for many reasons, but two main reasons come to mind: 1) sin often provides immediate gratification, even though it destroys, and 2) God allows pain and suffering in life, which at times may even lead us to question God’s goodness. If there is even a hint of questioning God’s goodness in our hearts, then finding motivation to go to God to behold his beauty can be challenging.
Have you gone through recent difficulties? Has ministry worked out as you hoped? Has church life been easy without any trouble? Have all your expectations in life worked out like you wanted? If the answer to any of these questions is no, then we face the temptation to not love nor enjoy “beholding the glory of the Lord.”
So how do we return to “beholding” God and his glory?
Simply put, we have to say “no” to anything & everything preventing us from believing that God is good and that he's worth pursuing. We have to do whatever it takes to hear God’s voice, spend time in the presence of the Lord, and live a life of simple obedience out of love. In saying "yes" to these things, we experience personal renewal, transformation “into the same image [of the Lord] from one degree of glory to
another” (2 Cor. 3:18), and God willing we will see the larger awakening we all long for.
Questions to Consider:
Do you still experience the joy of your salvation?
What is your plan to meet with the God? (daily, extended times, etc.) Have you become to busy?
Is there something that happened causing you to be angry with God? Maybe something didn’t work out like you had hoped. Have you
admitted that frustration to God, and asked him for wisdom concerning it (Jam. 1:5)?
Are you willing to carve out time to be with God; to receive his comfort; to experience his goodness; to behold his glory; to be
Father, there is nothing better than knowing you, beholding your glory, and seeing you for all that you are. Help us to believe that you are good even when life is hard, and help us remember that you work all things together for good for those who love you and are called according to your purpose (Rom. 8:28).