90 Days of Prayer – Day Eight
Contemplating His Image
2 Corinthians 3:18
“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
In the passage before us Paul gives the Corinthian believers something astounding to consider. He writes that the face of believers is unveiled, as they are contemplating the glory of the Lord which they see as if looking in a mirror. In Paul’s day mirrors were of polished brass, he’s saying that believers are a polished mirror image of Jesus.
As we contemplate Jesus through prayer and sustained thinking on the Word of God, the Holy Spirit transforms us into the very likeness and appearance we are seeing. The word “transformed” in this passage is the Greek word “metamorphoumetha,” from which we derive our English word metamorphosis.
Andrew Murray says it well when he writes “Prayer is not merely coming to God to ask something from him. It is above all fellowship with God and being brought under the power of his holiness and love until he takes possession of us and stamps our entire nature with the lowliness of Christ…”**
The greatest benefit we receive from a lifestyle of prayer is the privilege of spending time alone in the Presence of God. It is in His Presence that we are influenced by the power of His love and His holiness. It is in our growing friendship with God that His character influences ours from the inside out. When we stand close to a fire, we feel its heat, and if we stand there long enough, our body will begin to heat up as well. All we have to do is stand close to the fire, and the fire does the rest.
Just as our body temperature gradually changes by remaining so close to the fire, so to, will our character be gradually changed by staying so close to God. God, who is an all-consuming fire, will purge us from all that is not like Christ. Keep in mind that it is He that does this work of transforming us into the image of Christ if we will remain in His presence for longer periods of time enjoying His fellowship.
“Ever-increasing glory” or from glory to glory is a continuous work of God. As we intentionally draw closer to Him getting to know Him ever more intimately, gradually the influence of the beauty we are seeing will continue to pull us even closer. While we are growing more intimate with Him, He is gradually transforming us into that very image we are seeing in Him. Our character is being changed from one level of glory to another just as our body temperature increases from one degree to the next by staying close to the fire.
We The Church are the very image of Christ because we are His body. A person needs only to look at our body to know what we look like. In the same way, the world should need only look at the Church to know what Jesus looks like. The apostle John talks about this transformation when he says “…as He is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17). Just as people can tell who’s been spending time near the fire by the heat they feel, so too, they can tell who’s been spending time alone with God by the character they see.
Trust God to continue the good work He has begun in you, spend time in His presence and with others who do the same. As the fire burns brighter and hotter, so will you as you continue contemplating the glory of the Lord. Be Intentional with your time alone with Him, Be Transformed, and Be Encouraged! -JSP
*Image from Modern Day David’s Blog (“The Purpose and the Price” June 13, 2012) https://moderndaydavid.wordpress.com/
**Andrew Murray, The Prayer Life, (by Moody Press ninth printing 1989) 48