This past Christmas, my wife, Harriet, and I gave our grandsons battery-operated helicopters. Since our great room has 17-foot ceilings, it was the perfect place to try them out.
What fun they had flying them up and down, around the chandelier, and over the loft railing. It was a real test of control and navigation—until the batteries went dead! “Oh no, we have a problem!” chimed in the grandkids. But the problem was solved because the batteries could be recharged. “Yes!”
Isn’t that similar to what happens in our spiritual walk? When we believe the gospel and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, He fills us with life and empowers us to soar with Christ. But then we soon discover that the source of power in the Holy Spirit needs to be continually recharged.
“Empowered” is Foursquare’s “one word” for 2016. And as I meditated on it, 2 Cor. 3:18 came to mind: “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (ESV, emphasis added).
An Internet search on transforming yields lots of results about Transformers action movies, licensed toys and video games. This generation is already programmed to imagine how the transformation process works. What a world of fantasy! Yet, what an exciting prospect we have to introduce people to the power that truly transforms our humanity for today and eternity. And that, of course, is when God will exponentially expand our understanding of what is realistic. Moreover, we can expect God to demonstrate His transforming power through us with signs, wonders and gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as transform our character with the fruit of His Spirit.
The apostle Paul used the word “transform” to refer to the process the Holy Spirit works in our lives to empower us to become like Jesus in character and gifting. It is the process known as metamorphosis (from the Greek, metamorphoo), “to change the outward or inward reality of something or someone into something different.” It is not unlike the process a caterpillar undergoes to be transformed into a butterfly.
The goal of Christian life is to become like Jesus through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. But how does this practically happen? It is through what Paul calls, in the verse noted above, “beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord” (NKJV). This takes place “when one turns to the Lord” (v. 16). This is not a one-time event. It can happen whenever we turn our attention away from our own interests and enjoy “face time” with Jesus. Listening for His voice cultivates the “beholding” process. God desires to reveal Himself to us. He longs “to transform us into His image [likeness] with ever-increasing glory” (NIV). He is looking for us to come to Him.
A great preacher from the past told of an experience he had that illustrates how this process unfolded in his life:
I cannot describe it. I seldom refer to it. It is almost too sacred an experience to name. … I can only say God revealed Himself to me, and I had such an experience of His love that I had to ask Him to stay His hand. I went to preaching again. The sermons were not different; I did not present any new truths; and yet hundreds were converted. I would not now be placed back where I was before that blessed experience if you should give me the world; it would be as small dust in the balance.1
That man was Dwight L. Moody.
Lord, may you stir in us the desire to be in Your presence until we are captivated by Your love and transformed by Your power and glory.
- Ask the Lord to show you how to “listen for His still small voice” along with your Bible reading and prayer. Take extra time to invest in listening.
- Pray that God would give us a passion for His presence.
- Pray for faith to believe for miraculous answers to prayer that bring people to Jesus.
1. A.P. Fitt, The Shorter Life of D. L. Moody (Chicago: Moody Press, 1900), p.67.