Last week we had a look at how Jesus is the exact, mirror image of the Father. Today I want to tell you something amazing! You, too, reflect the Father. As love changes us we are transformed in order to reflect his glory. Ok, maybe our mirror image is not as perfect as Jesus' but nonetheless we can reveal the nature, personality and character of the Father to the world.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:17-18 NASB)
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6 ESV)
You become what you look at! The more we gaze upon the beauty of the Lord, the more we shall become like him. Sometimes it feels as if change is either slow or non-existant but that doesn't mean it's not happening. As we find our home in love we will be transformed by its invisible power. We are being changed from one level of glory to another and all that simply means is we are reflecting the nature and personality of God in a greater way. Daily we are being changed to look more like Jesus (Romans 8:29).
If that is happening then what, or who, will people see when they look at us? Yes, they'll still see us, however they will also see Christ in us. They will see the God of love reflected in our lives. They will see that God is neither distant nor angry with them but he is the one who is LOVE. They will see love in our eyes, not our love but the love of the perfect Father, the One who wants to be a Father to them. That's amazing!
And something equally as amazing. You don't have to be perfect before you start to reflect love.
A mirror is a reflection of reality. It shows what something is like in all its detail, it is an exact replica without being the original. We have a love/hate relationship with mirrors - it shows us how good we look yet it also reveals the spots and wrinkles (often more clearly than we would like).
Throughout our history God has spoken to our ancestors by his prophets in many different ways. The revelation he gave them was only a fragment at a time, building one truth upon another. But to us living in these last days, God now speaks to us openly in the language of a Son, the appointed Heir of everything, for through him God created the panorama of all things and all time. The Son is the dazzling radiance of God’s splendor, the exact expression of God’s true nature—his mirror image! (Hebrews 1:1-3 TPT)
The ministry of prophets is vital to the church, they bring clarity and insight and reveal the hidden purposes of God to his people. However, their words can be a mystery at times; as Paul says, we can only ever prophesy in part and that can leave a question. It is incomplete and therefore open to interpretation. That's how God spoke to his people. He still speaks to us today through prophets and that is important for us. A change has taken place and we are fortunate as we have been given something greater, we have the Word of God itself, the person of Jesus who became a man in order to show us the true personality, nature and character of God (John 1:1-5).
At the end of Jesus' life he prays to his Father, in that conversation he starts of by saying that he has done everything he was sent to do. He has made the Father known to mankind (John 17:6). Some translations say "I have made your name known" and others say "I have reveealed you". It's the same thing! Jesus has shown us who God really is. He has fulfilled the prophetic cry of Jeremiah 3:19 - "I thought you would call me 'Father'". Why did God say that through Jeremiah? He said it because that's who he is.
God, the Father, has always wanted to be known. He has been and still is misunderstood. People don't know what he is like. They create all sorts of impressions of what they think God is like. They (we) miss the detail.
When we start to look at Jesus, at what he did, what he said, how he behaved or reacted we see something very different to our perceptions. We see the fulness of God revealed in a man. We see the nature, personality and character of God revealed. We see who God is. We see the Father. We see the perfect image of God through his son.
When the eyes of our heart see, our perceptions are destroyed in a moment. Instead of our made up view of God, we see the Father of Jesus who the apostle John can describe in one word - "LOVE". That's what we see when we look in the mirror of Jesus.
Philippians is a very upbeat letter as Paul is full of joy for his friends. His overwhelming joy exudes through the chapters and verses and it becomes contagious. You feel good as you read Paul's exhortations.
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now... (Philippians 1:3-5 NIV)
Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. (3:1 NIV)
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends! (4:1 NIV)
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (4:4 NIV)
Today's encouragement is simple.
Over the past few weeks we have discovered our home is in Christ and that we are with him where he is. That leads us to the place of contentment where we experience a peace which goes beyond all our understanding. It's no wonder Paul could rejoice even in the midst of suffering. When we have a simple, childlike trust on our Father we become aware that our security is in him and not in our own strength.
This gives us something to rejoice about. The joy of the Lord can indeed be our strength.
Absolute trust will lead us to the place of contentment. Contentment: to know (and live in) the peace that goes beyond all of our understanding. What a gift!
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7 ESV)
I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. (Philippians 4:10-11 NIV)
That's a challenge! To be content whatever the circumstances!
We spend a lot of time, money and energy seeking to have more, to be more or to do more. A new phone comes out: better camera, more data, more storage, faster processor etc - we have to have it. Why? Because we're told we won't be content unless we do. We work harder at work in order to be noticed - we want to be seen to be someone. Frankly, we're not content and as a result we lose our peace and become caught up in the never-ending cycle of seeking more.
Contentment is deeper than possessions, ministry, titles or function. Contentment is the state of our heart so we, like Paul, can say whether we're in need or have plenty, that we are content. We find the secret of being in Christ. We can trust our Heavenly Father because he will meet all our needs according to the riches of his glory (Phil 4:19).
Trust sounds simple, yet for many of us it is the complex process of letting go. It's recognising that we can't do it on our own, all of our striving will lead to frustration and us being robbed of our peace. Trust says that our Father is bigger and more able, he knows what is best for us and our only response is to have a childlike heart of rest and dependency on him.
If we are to fully trust the Lord, then we have to let go. Letting go is not easy, nor is it always our natural inclination. It's taking the step of believing that our Father knows what is best for us and that he knows this better than we do. For many that can be quite a challenge.
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. (Philippians 3:7-9 NIV)
I'm always inspired by the life of Paul, who, despite his natural abilities and background, chose the path of humility. He trusted completely in the eternal goodness and faithfulness of the Lord. Not only did he let go of everything but he also considered it to be rubbish. He had seen the better and the best which was to know Christ and to be found in him.
To us, it seems that Paul was a long way into this personal journey. Despite that, he knew that he had not arrived. He did not pursue ministry or function or gifting but he pursued a greater intimacy and depth of relationship with Christ. He had discovered that his citizenship was in Heaven, his home was in Christ seated at the right hand of the Father. He knew he was loved as Jesus is loved - that is what it means to be "in Christ".
I pray, today, that we will all discover a greater revelation of this truth and, as we do, it will cause us to let go and trust.
A Father to YOU is a signpost to the heart of the Perfect Father. When we became Christians we were given the right to become children of God (John 1:12). Sadly, many of us fail to take up that right and instead continue to live as slaves or orphans. But our true destiny is being sons and daughters who have a permanent place in the Father's family. This blog is an encouragement to help you know who God really is and who you really are.