For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
1 Corinthians 13:12
I was visiting with friends today and recounting to them some things that God had spoken to me about this week. One of the things He brought back to mind was the blog entry I had written on May 1st, The Sum of These. The thought that we should recognize ourselves when we look into the mirror was something that caused me a little bit of fear. Year after year you have this idea in your mind who you think you are on the inside and you pretty much know the outside is changing with age. Does the inside? I mean, when I looked into the mirror that day, I could remember thoughts I had had at various times in my life. I felt old…like there were too many years between here and there. So why did I think that I wasn’t me anymore? After all, if I am growing and changing on the outside (to my chagrin), doesn’t it stand to reason that I would do the same on the inside?
The thing the Lord had spoken to me about, in my spirit, was that the changes that have been taking place in my life, in and around me, were meant to make changes on the inside. And by faith, knowing that He has been conforming me to His image since the day I accepted Him as my Savior then naturally I would not recognize myself. I should not recognize myself. For the old man (me) has passed away and I have become new because I am in Christ (2 Cor 5:17). I am not to look like the rest of the world….while He placed me in the world to be a light I am not to “conform to this world” but I am to be transformed (Rom 12:1).
3Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.
4And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.
With that new perspective on the reflection in the mirror, I began to take another inventory. Instead of remembering what I was, I made a list of what I have become, through God’s hands. I know many of you have heard the passages in the Bible that paint the picture of God, being the potter and we, being the clay. If you have ever thrown clay, you know that to make something out of the lump, you have to work the outside of the clay, putting just the right pressure in just the right places for the image in your mind to form within your hands. Then as you patiently work the piece you stick your hands or fingers inside the vessel to do the same to the inside as you did on the outside.
When this portion of the piece is complete, what you have in front of you is completely unrecognizable from the lump of clay you started with. In this process, you have confirmed the image to what was in your mind. The only thing in common with what you began with is the material it is made of. Clay is clay, no matter what form it is in. What makes the difference between the beginning form and the end product is the process it took to get it into the state of usefulness.
The external changes God allowed into my life were the very thing that He used as “pressure” to mold and form me on the inside. My heart and mind forever changed with the movement of His hands in my circumstances. It drew me to God instead of away from Him. I am aware that this is not always the case with every Christian. I had never really looked at the process this way before. I had heard people say, “God is making you into something for His glory.”; “God will use these trials to make you more like Christ.”; “God is making all things work together for good.” I also have read, on numerous occasions, the verses that speak of His conforming us to the image of His Son. But what I had not done was hold God’s process up to my life, to the mirror so to speak, to find out how He was ‘conforming’ me.
I guess somewhere in the back of my mind I thought that it was an invisible thing that happened to us. As long as I read my bible, went to church, fellowshipped with God in prayer and worship and won others to Christ, that He would through those things transform me. So in that thought, one day I would go to bed and the next morning wake up and like the magical night cream, I would be transformed. I am not naive enough to believe that but somehow I equated my trials, burdens, and loss to my walking with God. His Word says we will have trials in this world…so it is a natural part of life, especially the Christian life. I saw this as a way for God to make my heart yearn for my home, Heaven. I guess I did not understand that without the trials, burdens, and loss, I would not be able to apply the things I read in the Bible, nor would I seek God as often in prayer and worship and certainly would not, through my response to the trials, burdens and loss, be an effective witness to others.
It is very clear to me now that looking in the mirror is futile. It does not matter to me what I see in there, for I know that each time I go back, I will be changed. His Word says so. His Word does not lie, therefore it will be done! This message from God this week was especially poignant…for I had asked God for direction in a decision I needed to make about stepping out, in faith, to make a fresh start. He led me to a memory of when I first got saved and where the fire burned the brightest for me in my walk with Jesus. It was through soul winning, evangelizing and discipling. Those ministries excited me like no other since. Do not misunderstand me, those things have been important throughout my walk in the last 17 years but somehow in these past few years, my eyes and my heart were fixed on the trials, burdens, and loss. I managed to keep my faith (not without good Christian counsel, accountability, and fellowship with other believers) but my passion for these things had not burned so brightly.
So when God answered my prayer through an open door for a new ministry starting in my area, I knew exactly what God was saying….”Get back to basics” (go back to your first love). One other thing…when I took that step today…God gave confirmation (as He always does), about a month ago, God had laid it on my heart to memorize Romans 12. I had told several friends about it and tried to set about doing it…my memory is not what it used to be, LOL, so it is taking a bit longer than I anticipated…anyhoo…I had managed several verses and am still working on the rest. In doing this exercise over the last several weeks, God has given me some wonderful nuggets to use each day…well today at church…guess what scripture the Pastor preached in? Yep, you guessed it, Romans 12!
I want you all to know, specifically those who are struggling with their walk with God, that there is N-O-T-H-I-N-G in this world that will even come remotely close to being as awesome as God’s love, care and faithfulness if you will just keep your eyes on Him and off of yourself! I know that from experience!!!!!
Grace be to all of you this week!
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18