I’m spending some time in 2 Corinthians this week. It has always seemed to me that 1 Corinthians gets all the attention, having “the love chapter” in it and all. Second books, like second children, can sometimes get overshadowed. Being the second child, I challenge you to look again. Trust me, the second can stand on it’s own two feet and is worthy of a deeper look. Be blessed and encouraged today.
I watch the TV show Once Upon A Time. They go in and out of lands, look into all kinds of magic mirrors, and time doesn’t seem to have any effect on them. If they don’t like what they see, they just go back and change it!
What if we had one of those magic mirrors like Belle from Beauty and the Beast? Sometimes we think we would like to be able to see what was happening in other places … the dangers ahead, our true selves revealed, the good, bad, and the ugly. We think we would like to know the future but, in reality, I believe it would scare us to death! Honestly, we couldn’t handle the truth.
I find that I look in the mirror less often the older I get. Our minds trick us. Mine still has the image of myself in the prime of my life, so, occasionally, I have to look twice to make sure it is really me looking back.
“As we grow old, the beauty steals inward,” writes Ralph Waldo Emerson.
If I really look, I see the truth the years have brought me — and I turn away as if not seeing makes it untrue. Mirror in hand, with eyes open or shut, it is still the same image. The truth is always true regardless of what we believe or deny. We start aging from the moment we are born. No one escapes that fact.
I’m the kind of person who sees a sales pitch on TV late at night and buys into it. I believe the ads – they said I would look ageless, or at least ten years younger in ten days for only $19.95 … but I can’t ever see a change. We hang on as long as we can knowing that, if we let go, our youth is gone forever.
People have searched for centuries to find a way to escape the aging process. But the only fountain of youth is found in the cleansing blood of the Lamb — Jesus. This physical body will, indeed, one day wear out but our souls will not. I’d like to look in a mirror and be able to, literally, see the miraculous transformation taking place in my life — not outward but inward. 2 Corinthians 3:16-18 says (I’ve copied several translations)…
“Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are—face-to-face! They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone. And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We’re free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face… And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.”(The Message)
“But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate[a] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (NIV)
“But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 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.” (ESV)
“Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 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 by the Spirit of the Lord.” (NKJV)
I love the language used in the NKJV. What a poetic phrase…. “From glory to glory”… “transformed into His image”… Imagine that! So, before you lose heart at the image staring back at you in the mirror, breathe in that truth! We may be wasting away on the outside, but inside we are being transformed into His likeness.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory that far outweighs them all….” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17)
Oh dear God, I pray I will keep looking deeply into the mirror of your goodness and grace as you continue to perfect me, daily, into your image. So, my friends, please ignore the wrinkles and the extra pounds. If you look closely you will see I’m still in there. I’m still the little barefoot girl wearing cut off jeans, sporting short brown hair and brown eyes shouting, “Watch me, watch me run as fast as I can,” while imagining the whole world is watching, cheering with amazement, and applauding my greatness as the fastest girl to ever run. I was so sure that no one had ever exceeded my potential.
At the front end of youth we believe we can do anything. In the middle we try. And in the end we know the truth — this life is preparing us for the main event. Someday, we will indeed become perfect and win the prize as the Lord God Himself cheers us on into the fullness of the eternal life He has prepared for us.
He sees me coming toward the finish line and sees my weariness. He sees I’m about to give up, so he sends His angels to come beside me with water bottles. They minister to me and encourage me to keep going. They tell me, “It’s worth it! You’re about to see clearly!”
“…so we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18)
“…an unveiled face, a mirror, the Lord, a transformation, an image of glory…” that’s a mirror I can look into!