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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Shine on!

When Moses went up to the Mount to speak directly with God, he had to veil his face after speaking with God because the radiance of God's glory was simply too much for the people of Israel to deal with!  Imagine that!  The radiance of God's glory and grace so magnificent upon the face of his servant that people could not bear to look upon it!  Why do you suppose that might have been the case?  Perhaps it was the very thing which light does in darkness - it points out things we didn't see before - maybe things the Israelites didn't want to admit to or deal with because they had conveniently been hidden in the dark places of their lives for so very long.  It doesn't surprise me that when the evidence of God's grace is so "out there" for everyone to see that it brings a sense of "discomfort" to some.  Grace is hard for some to embrace because the uneasiness of having their sin "discovered" is just a little too close for their comfort!

In light of this hope that we have, we act with great confidence and speak with great courage. We do not act like Moses who covered his face with a veil so the children of Israel would not stare as the glory of God faded from his face. Their minds became as hard as stones; for up to this day when they read the old covenant, the same veil continues to hide that glory; this veil is lifted only through the Anointed One. Even today a veil covers their hearts when the words of Moses are read; but in the moment when one turns toward the Lord, the veil is removed. By “the Lord” what I mean is the Spirit, and in any heart where the Spirit of the Lord is present, there is liberty. Now all of us, with our faces unveiled, reflect the glory of the Lord as if we are mirrors; and so we are being transformed, metamorphosed, into His same image from one radiance of glory to another, just as the Spirit of the Lord accomplishes it.   (2 Corinthians 3:14-18 VOICE)

In the moment we are embraced by grace, there veil of hardness which covered our hearts is removed.  This is tremendously liberating truth, if we will just grab hold of it!  There is no need to veil ourselves from God's glory - the magnificence of his grace extended toward us. There is no need to "hide behind" anything any longer!  Why?  God's glory is meant to be enjoyed, absorbed, and allowed to transform us from the inside out!  If there is any cure for a hardened, crusted heart bound to the past and burdened with sin, it is the radiant glory of God's grace shining within!  Grace isn't experienced in the absence of sin - it is what makes sin absent!

Moses didn't need to wear the veil in the presence of God - he had open face-to-face contact with God's glory and it did something amazing for him - it began to transform his countenance!  This is how grace is in our lives - it begins to be appreciated and enjoyed deep within as we are liberated from the bonds of sin and the past is no longer the anchor which holds us down - then it slowly and deliberately creeps its way to the surface of our countenance until we radiate grace!  There is no longer a veil between God and those who would desire to fellowship with him - it has been removed by Christ taking on flesh, coming to the earth, living, breathing, and dying for our sins.  It doesn't stop there - he overcame death and all the hold of death's cold, dark sting - raising from the dead and taking his place alongside God the Father.  It is there that he makes intercession for each of us and draws us to the very presence of God - that we may experience the grace of God first-hand.

In any heart where the Spirit of the Lord is present, there is liberty.  Read that a couple times over, my friends.  The reason we don't hide behind a veil of fear or reproach any longer is simply the presence of God within us, giving us liberty to approach the throne of grace without any reservation.  Anyone or anything that wants to put you in a place of feeling like you have to "mask" your sinfulness, or hide behind anything because of your past or present sin is simply not right.  Don't embrace that mask!  It isn't needed because God's plan is for us to experience the magnificence of his radiance within until it begins to reflect in our countenance in measures which can only bring conviction to those who behold it!

Look at that last part of our passage again - we are being metamorphosed - changed from one state into another.  In other words, we are changing from one form of nature to another, in measured and structured steps.  If you aren't who you want to be today, do not despair! Just keep beholding the magnificence of his grace and it will happen!  The process of change from one nature to another isn't short - it is a life-long experience!  We might not see it happening, but we have to trust it is.  I don't know what is inside the silky wrap of a tight cocoon, but eventually I begin to sense movement within, then there is a brilliant transformation which becomes evident before my eyes.  The thing which went into the cocoon doesn't emerge the same!  It is changed!

The presence of God's Spirit within us might just be there to help with this work of metamorphosis!  Do you know what God's Spirit does?  He turns our eyes away from the thing which holds us down to the face of God.  He takes our focus and readjusts it so that we are positioned for change!  As long as we behold the "veil" of the cocoon, we don't see the magnificence of the butterfly about to emerge from within.  God's grace transforms - his Spirit directs our focus - and his radiance begins to reflect on the countenance of our face. Shine on!