Last night I couldn’t sleep. I walked outside at 3am, the only time of day when the Arizona desert summer is not roasting hot. It was surprisingly well lit, not with any artificial lights, but with the brightness of the half-moon shining down. The moon is one of the best examples I can think of when considering the power of reflecting light. It produces absolutely no light by itself. Instead, we can only see the “moonlight” when the sun’s rays reflect off the half facing us.
In 2nd Corinthians 3 Paul talks about reflecting God’s glory. When Moses came face-to-face with God, the reflection of God’s glory was so bright that he had to put a veil over his face. Paul compares that glory, which faded, to what we have now that we can come into God’s presence, the veil taken away when we embrace Christ’s salvation (vs.12-17). Paul concludes: “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (vs.18).
In the church today it often seems like we are being asked to produce glory by ourselves. We’re told what we should do, the people we should be, the vision we should have. We judge each other based on how affective or influential we appear to be. But we are not the source of true, eternal glory! Our role is simply to reflect it, just as the moon reflects the sun. We are not even asked to transform ourselves, but “are being transformed” by God.
So what does our role of being “reflectors” look like? I am not suggesting that we should be in a passive state with no effort or responsibility required. We must be intentional!
- To reflect God’s light, we need to be in His Presence. There is no way for an object to reflect light not shining on it. Like the earth, only one half of the moon faces the sun at any one time. As a result, we only see darkness when that side is turned away from us. When looking at the half-moon, I could only see half of the circle, that part where the sun’s rays touched; I knew the rest of the side facing us was present, but it appeared invisible. Similarly, the glory of God is visible in our lives only when we stand before Him, and it is only reflected in the areas in our lives that we have allowed His light to reach. Drawing near to God is not something He forces us to do, but He is always lovingly calling out to us, welcoming us with open arms. In order to spend time in His Presence we often need to re-evaluate our priorities and use of time. Are we setting aside time to simply bask in His light and grow closer to Him?
- To be transformed we must allow His light in the darkest place of our lives. No one is perfect; we are sinful people living in a sinful world, constantly facing temptations to put our own desires first, battling warped thoughts about ourselves and God, and hurting from the words and actions of others. We don’t reach perfection on this earth, but God does want to offer healing and pour His grace into the dark corners of pride, bitterness, anger, and jealousy still in our lives. Grace is never forced; by definition it is a free gift and it is our choice whether or not to accept it. In order to be transformed we must be willing to vulnerably open our hearts to God. Often we also need to ask others to help us address the deeper issues, providing accountability and pointing us back to the truth in God’s Word. Vulnerability is counter-cultural in a society emphasizing success and accomplishments. Yet is a powerful testimony to allow others to witness God’s light touching new areas of our lives and erasing the darkness with His love.
- To bring God’s light into the places where it is most needed, we must be in line with God’s plan. Ask yourself, are you willing to go wherever God asks you to go? Are you willing to interact with the people that need to receive the love of God? Essentially, are you ready to get out of your comfort zone? God wants to use us, to include us in the joy of watching others encounter His love. We don’t have to worry about our abilities to “make a difference,” but we do need to surrender our lives back to Jesus daily, asking Him to work in us and through us.
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As a result of drawing near to God, letting Him work in us, and surrendering our lives to His will, we get to not only reflect, but experience His glory.
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” make his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ (2 Cor. 4:6)
Do you have the desire to encounter Jesus face-to-face? If so, I challenge you to consider ways to let His light shine in your life.