By Nikola Dimitrov
"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
As we are beholding the Lord's Glory, we are being changed into the same image and that's a work of the Holy Spirit. Our part is to continually behold and be willing to change according to what we are seeing. Being ready to change! Paying the price! Lifting up the Cross! David said:
"One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple"
What is the Glory? Many Christians connect God's Glory with some spiritual or physical experience, some tingling, some emotion of feeling good in His Presence, etc.
Well, sure all that is a part of it, but let me tell you something else as well, which will give us a broader picture. The Glory of the Lord and the Lord Himself are inseparable. The Glory is the Lord Himself. Romans 6:4 says Jesus was raised by the Glory of the Father. Yet, we all know very well, that the Father Himself raised Jesus from the dead, through the Holy Spirit. The Glory is His Person. The Glory is the Person of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. The Glory is Himself. The Glory is His character. When Moses said to the Lord, Please, show me Your Glory (Exodus 33:18), the Lord did, by going before him Himself and proclaiming, "The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth ..." (Exodus 34:6).
That's the Glory Moses was supposed to see - the Lord Himself and His attributes - His character, His goodness, mercy, love, etc. - the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23).
The Glory also encompasses God's Power (Habakkuk 3:3, 4). The Glory is God's Purpose, His heart, His passion and His vision. The Glory is everything! When the Lord comes, He comes with all His Glory. All Heaven speaks of His Glory constantly (Psalm 29:9).
Of course, the Glory of God is such a vast subject of its own, so I will concentrate only on that part of the Glory that changes us into God's image.
When the Lord comes with His Glory, we can indeed have a spiritual and even physical experiences and manifestations of all kinds. At other times, His Glory comes when we hear God's voice or see His character and acts through His people. That may include seeing the manifestation of His Glory through listening to sound preaching and teaching; through reading a book, watching an anointed TV program; through the wise words and advices of our parents, leaders or friends. In all cases, the most important thing is: are we allowing the Lord to change us, transform us, and place His image in us in these experiences? Because His Glory carries His image.
Because the Lord comes to change us. And that happens when He shows us an image of His Glory - an image of Himself, His purposes, His character, His gifts, His fruit. Then, when we see that Glory (that image), we must allow Him to change us from one level of Glory to a higher level of Glory.
In other words, as far as we have known the Lord and allowed Him to work in us, we have received a certain image - a certain level of His Glory in us. The Bible says in Colossians 1:27, that Christ in us is the hope of Glory. Actually, Christ is the image of God's Glory:
"But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
2 Corinthians 4:3-6
"Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell"
To the extend that we have allowed Christ to dwell and rule in us, to that extend we have allowed God's Glory to change us. And actually, Psalm 85:9 says that the reason the Lord has saved us and is working in us on this side of Heaven is that His Glory may dwell in our land:
"Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land"
We must be the carriers of His Glory to the ends of the Earth, but before we can do that, we must ourselves experience it more and more and allow God to change us into every new and higher image of that Glory.
Now, there's a confrontation right here - will we just enjoy the new image of the Glory, enjoying also the experience of seeing it, saying later, "Whew, what a good time it was when the Lord visited me", "Whew, what a Conference it was", "Whew, what a conversation I had with this man or woman of God", etc. or will we change according to that same image and start walking in the new level of Glory?
You see, we can have all the experiences and never change an inch. If you don't believe me, just look at the Israelites and their journey in the wilderness. They had all the experiences with God we can only dream about - a pillar of fire by night, a pillar of smoke by day, supernatural deliverance from Egypt, even to the point of God dividing a whole sea, so they could walk through it on dry land, miracles after miracles, supernatural provision of manna, meat, water, supernatural protection and victory over their enemies, many occasions when the Lord literary was coming down on the mountain, so they could see, hear and experience Him, Moses' face shining so brightly with the Glory right before their eyes, and so much more.
Did they change? Absolutely not! Not even a bit! Why? Somebody will say, "But they were in the Old Testament, they were not born again, and that's why they couldn't change, etc" No, that's not the reason. Because some of them (like Joshua and Caleb) did allow the Lord to change them and mould them, form them into the great men He made out of them eventually. Then, when the new generation came, they all decided they will obey the Lord by obeying Joshua, and they had victory after victory until they inherited all the land promised to them in one generation.
So, it was a matter of decision. Please remember that word - decision. Because walking in the Glory and walking in progressively higher standards and image requires decision and sacrifice. It requires paying the price. That price is to let go of the past on one hand, but also to let go of all our self-centeredness, our self ambitions and agendas, our self images that we do like sometimes.
The Lord is a jealous God. He wants His image to be in and on us, not our own. Our own agendas, visions, plans and purposes must give way to His ones.
But that should in no way turn us down. Hey, that's what we want anyway, right? We want to serve the Lord with everything we are and have. We love Him so much. He loved us first and proved His love in the most sacrificial way.
Well, is our love true enough, so we can also sacrifice for Him? He is our Beloved, our Prince of Peace, our Comforter, our Love and Affection, our Desire, Dream and Passion.
So, we must be more than ready and willing to lay everything at His feet and say to Him, Lord, please give us the grace and help us to give ourselves totally to You, so You can place Your image on the inside of us.
The Bible says that, "... it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13).
There's no better will for us than His will. His will is Perfect. You can not improve the Perfect thing - it's perfect!
Pastor, Bible Teacher, Preacher, Translator, Educator, Author