Saturday, October 20, 2012



 Have you looked in the mirror today? What do you see reflected there? Perhaps you see dark circles under your eyes, reflecting too many hours of work, or lack of sleep, or even sorrow or worry or stress... Or perhaps you see a glow of health, reflecting wholesome eating habits, regular exercise, good sleep, satisfying relationships and fulfilling work!
     What we see of our faces in the mirror often reflects whatever dominates our lives – whether that be chronic worry and stress, or personal fulfillment and enjoyment of life.
     Hebrews 1:3 says of Jesus that He is the radiance of the Father’s glory, and the exact representation of His being.
     Have you ever wondered what God is like? Look at Jesus! Look at His life, His character; hear His words; witness His heart of love expressed through the way He engaged with people; see His power manifest in all He said and did. Jesus is the exact expression of the glory, majesty, love and radiance of God Himself.
     In fact, Jesus said of Himself, “Anyone who has seen Me, has seen the Father” (John 14: 9). His name is Immanuel which means God with us!
     The Bible exhorts us to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith… (Heb. 12:2). Not only does He perfect our faith, but when we make Him who is “the radiance of the Father’s glory” the focus of our attention, something amazing begins to happen in us. This is described in 2 Corinthians 3:18: And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
     Our thoughts, our emotions, our relationships, our lives reflect whatever dominates our attention. And when Jesus is the One who has captured our hearts, and is the One who holds our gaze, our lives begin to reflect Him and His radiance!
     The Victorian Scottish writer, Thomas Carlyle, once said that people become like the gods they serve. Whatever or whoever predominates in our lives and dominates our attention and consumes our thoughts and captures our emotions, is what or who is going to be reflected in and through our lives. In our words and conduct, we begin to mirror that person or thing. In making Jesus the One upon whom our attention, thoughts and desires are centered, we have the opportunity to reflect Him who is the radiance of the Father’s glory.
     What does “unveiled faces” mean? It simply means that we open our hearts completely to allow Jesus to reveal Himself to us, and pour His love into the depths of our beings - not "veiling" our innermost selves in a way that denies Him access. And then, with open hearts, we turn and engage with others around us, allowing the glory of who He is and His love, to spill from our lives.
     We are a people marked by love: The consuming, extravagant love of God lavishly poured out. His love has an amazing effect on our hearts – it causes them to both fill and expand. The more we look to Jesus, the more He fills our hearts; the more He fills them, the more He increases their capacity to both contain and give more and more of His love to others.
     What may be some of the reasons we keep our faces, or our hearts “veiled” – closing them off to God’s love; sealing them away from others? There may be a variety of reasons why we are tempted to shut down in this way: pain, disappointment, fear, shame…
     For some reason we think that we need to get our hearts and lives “fixed” before we can open them completely to the Lord. But the Word of God encourages us to come just as we are – to bring our hearts to Him no matter what condition they are in… and just open them to all that He is. "God is bigger than our hearts" (Pastor Dan Hammer).    
     Psalm 34:5 tells us: Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.
     Recently I had a conversation with someone who I know has been through tremendous difficulty for many years. I had not seen her in a while, and when I asked how she was doing, with tears in her eyes, she said, "I feel so incredibly blessed. I have been overwhelmed by the love of God, and I have realized it's not about how much I love Him - it's all about how much He loves me! And realizing this has enabled me to let go and stop trying to be in control, because I can rest in the knowledge that in His great love for me, He will cause all things to work for my good."
     In spite of the problems, she was radiant with the love of the Lord, and no longer the downcast person I met a couple of years ago!
     Can you allow your heart too, to gaze upon His radiance? Let the barriers down, and open your heart to receive the love He yearns to pour out into you. The result will be a heart and life transformed by the experience! A heart that continues to hunger for more and more of this One who is the radiance of the Father’s glory. And before you know it, your life too, will begin to reflect His radiance for others to see. You might remain oblivious to your own radiance, because your attention is not on yourself, but on the Lover of your soul. But others will see it… and begin to want what you have… and it will draw them to seek the same transformational Love…
     Who or what have you been “looking to”? A person? A relationship? An ambition? A career or a job? A strategy for success? A methodology to fix your life and circumstances? A desire that consumes you?
     For a while each of these things may seem to hold the answers we have been seeking. But sooner or later we end up striving to address what still leaves us dissatisfied in our obsessive pursuit, trying harder and harder to gain the satisfaction we so desperately seek - yet ultimately ending up hollowed out and empty handed.
     Until a still, small, compelling voice begins to call, “Seek Me”.
     What if…? What if we began to pursue Him with the same intensity that we so often employ in chasing after other people, relationships, activities, strategies, methodologies… He longs to reveal Himself to us. He longs to pour out His extravagant love into our lives. He longs for us to encounter the radiance of His glory. If we would only focus our attention on Him and allow our gaze to be filled and consumed by all that He is…
     We will become a people marked not only by His love, but stamped with His radiance. And everything else in our lives will come into alignment with the glory, majesty and infinitely good purposes of a God whose extravagant love for us draws us ever deeper into Him.
      Would you open your heart and allow Him to fill it with Himself today? He has been waiting for you to come…

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