"And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:18
Often times, when we're talking about becoming more like God, we're talking about how we're learning to be more Christ-like for our heavenly future. I know I've said as much, and have thought the same way, that life is a great journey to prepare us for what is beyond. Only... I've been challenged lately with the idea that life's journey is not to prepare us for heaven. Sure, that's part of it, but what if, what if our journeys are to prepare us, really, for "on earth as it is in heaven." As I read this verse above, I can't help but notice that it doesn't talk about the ever-increasing glory in tandem with the afterlife. It's talking about the here and now. It's talking about us physically, here on earth, being filled with God's Glory- and as such, our faces even reflect that glory to all those on the outside. Wow! That even now, as I sit here this morning, I am in the process of transformation, which comes from God, but is through the Spirit who is also God.
Yesterday I was out shopping by myself, and I heard a song on the radio that just made me think about what Jesus would think if he was walking among us today. I could just picture him, walking with tears in his eyes as there is so much hurt and pain around him. And what I thought, when I caught that picture in my head of Jesus weeping over our world today, what I thought was that I want to be like Jesus. I want to see the hurt and pain around me, and I want to be able to help with it. I want God to use me to release people from their pain and hurt, but first, I have to be able to see it and feel it myself. It's the compassion that sometimes I think I'm missing. Oh, I'm not missing it all the time. Lately... lately I've turned into such a sap- I'll watch a sappy movie and be moved to tears so easily, or I'll see a news story, like the other day with all the shootings, and I just wanted to sit here and sob with sadness for all those hurting. So I know that compassion is opening up. I don't look at someone at the grocery store and think bad thoughts so much anymore, instead I wonder quietly about their circumstances.
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10
Jesus came so that we can have life to the full- and one, I don't think he was talking only about life eternal in heaven. And two, I don't think we're living life very fully. A full life would be one without suffering and sickness. A full life would be the one where we spend every waking moment fully enrobed in His Glory- walking in God's Presence day in and day out. THAT is a full life and the life I want. I want that life- the one where it is "on earth as it is in heaven." let's just think about that statement for a minute. It's part of The Lord's Prayer, which just about everyone knows, and I can't help but read that and see so much more than the recitation that it's become.
"your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven. " Matthew 6:10
On earth as it is in heaven. There is no sickness and pain in heaven. There is no sadness, there is no disease, no cancer, no heart troubles, no colds or flus. There is no depression, and there definitely is no poverty either. So why are we so riddled with it? Why is there so much disease and sickness and depression and poverty. I think it's because we're missing the boat of fullness. We're missing that full life that Jesus prepared for us. The twelve apostles lived it for a time, Paul lived it for a time, and every once in a while, throughout history, there is someone who rose to the task and found fullness and fulfillment in God. I think the time has come though, for more than just one person to take on that task. The time has come for the church, the bride to take off the veil and live in the fullness and the glory that we were meant to live in. It's time to surrender to God and stop with all the infighting and the accusing and the questioning each other as to the proper procedure. Who cares? Really, does it really matter that much if the ushers move from front to back or side to side? And yes, that is exactly the type of detail that is breaking apart churches today.
Almost every day lately it seems as if God is challenging some kind of ideal or idea that I've upheld as the right way to do things, and I feel like I could write a whole book today if I just kept on going! So I'll close today with a teaser, because just a few weeks ago, I was challenged with pants, and next week, I think I'll share just how a pair of jeans and I had a stare down, as I wrestled with a pre-conceived notion I had. Of course, God won, and I'll talk more about that next week. I think I left enough to think on for one day.