Continuing our series on reflecting Christ’s image, you can see that abiding in the Lord and spiritual warfare must go hand in hand. Abiding in His presence involves companion-ship, communion, fellowship, mutual delight and decision making; whereas, spiritual warfare involves being a watch-man on the wall protecting this relationship and always keeping an eye on the health of our soul.
These are the things that build a firm foundation of faith so we are able to then “walk in the Spirit,” sharing His heart with others. Walking with the Lord allows His image to penetrate our souls.
Abel, Enoch, Noah and Abraham all “walked with the Lord.” (Genesis 5:22; 6:9) Each humbly sought His presence, watched over their own souls and the Lord rewarded them by revealing His glory. Interestingly, Scripture does not tell us exactly what Enoch did. I doubt it was anything spectacular or noteworthy. Yet, the Word tells us that “he walked with God.” He was obviously someone very special to the Lord.
Likewise, Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord and thus the Lord shared His heart with Him. And, of course, as we said Scripture records Abraham as the Lord’s “friend.” (James 2:23; Isaiah 41:8) David Wilkerson comments, “to have the Creator of the Universe call you His friend seems almost beyond human comprehension.”
Daily abiding in the Lord and doing warfare is the only way that a firm foundation for walking with the Lord can be built. Bob Sorge says, “We must develop a secret history with God before He gives us a public one.”
The Glory of God
Scripture promises those who “walk in the Spirit” will attain the Kingdom of Heaven. However, as we have shared before, the way to this glory is often through suffering. (Suffering, in this sense, means denying ourselves and choosing to let His Life come forth.) Often, the greater the suffering, the greater the glory. In other words, the more we resemble Christ in spirit, power and action through suffering, the more we will glorify Him. Therefore, true sons and daughters of God will probably endure more trials than those of the world. So often, we hear just the opposite. Scripture, however, tells us that “we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22)
Again, Christ is our example. He was despised and rejected. Isaiah tells us that “He was wounded...oppressed...afflicted... Yet, it pleased the Lord to bruise Him and put Him to grief.” (Isaiah 53: 5,7,10) The way to future glory for us is through a similar path. We are called to be “like Christ.” Suffering (denying “self”) was a part of His life and it will be a part of ours also. God has designed it that way. Suffering is what leads to more glory for Him...less of us and more of Him.
Throughout Scripture we see God’s pattern of abasement and then exultation. John 12:24 lays it out plainly. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”
Remember the story of Moses in Exodus 34. After fleeing Egypt, he was certainly humbled. But, if you recall, after his encounter with the Lord on Mount Sinai, he was so radically changed that his face shone with the glory of God. Glory is the result of being emptied of self and then filled with Christ and His presence. A person’s countenance is simply the outward expression of what is in his heart. Moses externally reflected the glory of God that he was experiencing internally. And the same experience can also be true of us.
Psalm 34:15 validates this, “Those who look to Him for help will be lightened.” In the Hebrew, the word is sparkle or radiant!
I recently received a beautiful letter from a prisoner who ex-presses this same thing only in a little different way. Listen:
“I find myself with a moment of unobstructed clarity of thought which is allowing me to faintly grasp the outer edges of the unspeakable joy that awaits our longing hearts when we see the Lord. Oh to see and touch our master’s face. Will His face be familiar? Will it be like looking upon a long ago departed loved one’s face? Will the radiance of His glory spill over us as a warm liquid love? Will His voice wash over us as waves of immeasurable, soothing sensation? Oh, to see His face! What glory awaits us!”
Paul talks about this glory in Galatians 1:15-16 when he says that God called him from birth to “reveal His Son.” What Paul is saying here is that when Jesus becomes our life itself, others will see His reflection in us just as they did with Moses. Moses spent 40 days and nights in communion with the Lord and as a result his face shone with the glory of God. When we become one with the Lord through cleansing, worship and abiding, we too, will be able to reflect His image. When we live our lives with the purpose of glorifying Him, the invisible God becomes visible in us for all to see. (2 Corinthians 3:2-3; 11:30; Psalm 96:7-8; 115:1; John 7:18; 17:4; Romans 8:17; Isaiah 24:15)
See: Psalm 96:2;.43:5; 29:2; 90:17.
An Example: Refiner’s Fire
Recently, some women I know were having a Bible study and they came across Malachi 3:3: “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.” This verse puzzled them as to what it really meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out about the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study. That week the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn’t mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up.
He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest so as to burn away all the impurities. The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot. She went over and asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to remain in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. He said that if the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.
The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, “How do you know when the silver is fully refined?”
He smiled at her and answered, “Oh, that’s easy. It’s done when I see my own image in it!”
Remember this story, if today, you are feeling the heat of that fire. God has His eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His own image in you—until He carves it into the “walls of your soul.” Isaiah 24:15 tells us that we must continue to glorify the Lord in midst of the fire.
Jesus is the full revelation of God’s glory and if He abides in us and we in Him, His glory will shine forth in our lives. We are His arms and legs. Now, others might not see our face shining as they did Moses’, but they will see His Love, wisdom and power coming forth from our lives.
To be continued next month: “The Chief Objective of Man.” This article has been excerpted in part from Nan’s book Reflections of His Image: God’s Purpose for Your Life.