April 22, 2016

Seeing Jesus in His children

God uses other Christians in our lives as sign posts so we can see Him, but sign posts are not stopping places.

For me, the first one was a lovely mentor who showed me the wisdom and grace of God. She started me on my Christian journey and helped me experience what it means to be part of His family.

The most recent signpost was a friend in whose presence I experienced the presence of Jesus and His unconditional love and affection. The Lord knew that I needed a visual and used this person to let me see the encouraging and tender heart of God.

Both are gone. One died, the other moved away. I am saddened, but also understand this was necessary. It is easy to depend on people, even to the point they become ‘my Jesus’ and distract me from the glory of the Lord. Instead of relying on their wisdom or grace, even their presence, I am to look into the face of Jesus. He is the source of wisdom, grace, tenderness, love and affection. While His people soften my heart, He is the One who changes my life.

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. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

Chambers reminds me that God’s people experience these blessings from others, but disheartening comes too. Those who used to be lights flicker out. Some who used to stand with me pass on. The lessons are wonderful, but eventually He wants me to become so accustomed to this coming and going that I am not bothered when I realize that I am standing alone.

At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. (2 Timothy 4:16–17)

Paul held no resentment to being deserted. It did not matter to him whether they had abandoned him or mere circumstances people them away. He knew that the Lord was with him. He also knew that God did all this so he would be better equipped to fulfill his ministry of proclaiming the gospel. He would also be better able to resist the enemy who loves to whisper discouragements such as, “You are all by yourself and you are so alone.”

In this, his faith grew because he didn’t place it in the support of his friends, but in Jesus Christ. When those who supported no longer are here, God intended them to go. Those departures make me sad, yet it is important that I look in the face of God for myself —He will never leave me or forsake me.

Chambers says that I must not allow anything to keep me from looking into the face of God. I’m to gaze at Him in everything I think, say, and do. If I do that, then His glory will continue to transform my life.

Moses was a friend of God. At first, he didn’t realize that his face shone when he talked with the Lord. That shining face was a fearful thing to the people. But Moses began to realize when the glory faded though, and then he put a veil over his face so they would not see that happen.

This is sad because we are to come to Him and to one another with an unveiled face. Far too many of us put on masks so the real person cannot be seen. We need to remember that because Christ lives in us, any mask will also prevent His glory from shining through.

My two examples above were people who never wore masks. Their lives were transparent — and because of that, I could see Jesus in them. If that was the only reason for them being part of my life for a little while, then I rejoice. This is what He means by beholding His glory with an unveiled face. All that masks do is keep me from seeing Jesus in others, and keep others from seeing His reflection in me. 

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