2 Corinthians 3:17-18
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 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.
As I reflect on this passage this morning I am reminded of a self-realization I have had quite often in the last 4 years on this journey of sanctification.
It is an image that can break a heart, for it comes at a time when we know the Gospel, the Good News that Christ sets us free and He will finish what He has started, however in this place at this time, in whatever circumstance that is going on it can feel like the old man and old ways provide an easier and safer way to deal with life. It is that old hopelessness that tries to creep back in.
It’s comes from a place of knowing that my old life is dead, that there is nothing good in the old party, lusting ways; but I have fear of what awaits outside the prison walls, so I hesitate, I wait for some assurances in worldly ways that it will be OK instead of placing my trust in God and stepping into the world.
Can anyone relate? I suspect the answer is a resounding yes. For many, the abuse experienced in childhood, whether severe or not, is at the core of un-empowered Christianity.
We can think God is good, God is powerful, God can do anything but we then disassociate from that when we contemplate serving at the church, or standing against an abusive boss or mate, we feel unworthy, powerless, weak and we slink back into the shadows of silence.
I think focusing on the freedom that I’m “supposed” to have does me little good, however focusing on the supernatural transformation that God is not only fully capable of but is clearly doing in each of us is the very thing that gives us the realization of freedom that we so desperately desire and need to be able to face our greatest interpersonal challenges in life.
It comes down to being aware of what (or who) we are actually looking at. Are we looking at ourselves and the world around us for the evidence of God, or are we looking to God Himself for the evidence of Christ in ourselves and the work He is doing in the world around us?
Where is our focus?
I think one of Satan’s greatest weapons is that of misdirection, to draw our attention away from God an onto anything else. It is when I worry about money that I begin to resent my employers for not giving me raises, begin to feel unfulfilled and without purpose or direction in my career, my whole attitude and demeanor begins a downward spiral and I lose joy.
However if I was to focus on how God is using me at my job, to keep my eyes open on the divine appointments of relationships that both challenge me and encourage me, of tasks that I either think are below me or beyond my capabilities which press me forward, I then gain a kingdom perspective and can become a witness to the mighty things God is doing in my life through my job, no matter what it is that I do.
And this is true with all of life, whether it be serving our church or our family. People and circumstances will rarely be as I would have them but I thank God that He is at work within us, drawing us to those exact people and circumstances for our growth and His glory.
When I focus on God, I realize that it is He who is actually working out my sanctification in every way, in every thing, in every day, through every circumstance. In that I realize that not only does the prison door not exist, but in fact I am in sitting in a beautiful pasture, surrounded by blue sky, wispy clouds, clean air, trees, birds, a stream, a light breeze…
I AM FREE, AND I HAVE BEEN ALL ALONG
By what God has done, is doing, and what His word promises is to come.
Thank you Jesus!
Father God I thank you this morning for the reminder that it is YOU who is doing the work in me and to stop falling on my old ways of judging myself with a yardstick of perfection. Thank you Father for offering the grace of knowing even though I am human, full of weaknesses and fears, that Your Cross covers the deficit and Your Holy Spirit dwells in me and Your Word is renewing my mind and with all of You I am fully free and alive and born again a new creation empowered, emboldened, capable and willfully supercharged to carry your message of hope and healing to everyone. May all of Your children this day recognize their great and wonderful value based on who You are and not influenced or affected by what we have done or what we wish we could do. Give us the power to do your righteous, loving, perfect and pure will on earth as it is in heaven this day. In Jesus’ precious name I pray…