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. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
We’ve started looking at what it means to change. Change is something we all want and the Christian life is, by nature, transformation – a metamorphosis.
In Part 1 we said that transformation is made possible by the grace of God because he has already changed us. The veil has been lifted.
In Part 2 we learned to behold, that is, to love and worship. We only change as our loves change.
Beholding the glory of the Lord is what transforms us. There is no other answer to the riddle of Christian growth and formation. Why?
Because glory alone changes us. Everything we do in this life, we do for some level of glory – meaning, purpose, significance, value. We go to the mall for glory. We go to work for glory. We eat for glory, date for glory, have sex for glory, watch Netflix for glory, even do ministry for glory.
We are all glory chasers. And there is no shortage of things that want to fill the glory hole that sits in the middle of your heart. If you think this isn’t a danger for you, you’re deceived. You’re chasing something. We all are.
But only the glory of God can change us for the good. Worshipping at the feet of any other source of glory will destroy us.
The law of worship says that we become like whatever we worship. We become like the thing we love. In other words, we take on its image and likeness, its character. If we worship the creation, we will become a distorted image of this corrupted thing.
Here’s how New Testament scholar N.T. Wright explains it:
“Those who worship money increasingly define themselves in terms of it and increasingly treat other people as creditors, debtors, partners, or customers rather than as human beings. Those who worship sex define themselves in terms of it (their preferences, their practices, their past histories) and increasingly treat other people as actual or potential sex objects. Those who worship power define themselves in terms of it and treat other people as either collaborators, competitors, or pawns. These and many other forms of idolatry combine in a thousand ways, all of them damaging to the image-bearing quality of the people concerned and of those whose lives they touch.”
The biggest danger for us each day as Christians (and humans in general) is that we tend to find our glory (meaning, significance, value) in our own righteousness – “I’m right, you’re wrong… My group is better than your group… I would never act that way… I can explain why I did or said that… That’s not what I meant… That’s not my fault.”
And on and on goes your inner lawyer.
But even your own self righteousness is a false glory that can’t live up to reality. It too will crush you along with all the others.
“To live is Christ” is your final stop for glory. You in Christ and Christ in you is all the glory you’re ever going to get and all you will ever need. Stop chasing. Slow down. Take a breath. Behold the glory of the Lord with that unveiled face of yours. It’s right there inside of you.
Can you identify your source of glory, meaning, identity, value, significance? Is it something other than your union with Christ? How can your union with Christ satisfy your search for glory? How can it end your need to self justify?
How does Andrew Keen’s assessment of the internet connect to our search for glory?