Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tiny Bubbles - A Life Transformed

One of my favorite bible verses is 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.

Anyone who thinks that walking with the Lord and the spiritual life is boring probably isn't serving the same God I serve or perhaps they are just not in need of as much transformation as I am. With the Lord there is never a dull moment especially as we press into the light. The more transformation a person needs, the more exciting it can be.

Now I will admit that as we press into God, we can feel a little schizophrenic at times even if we are not. As we press in, insecurities, fears, anger, depression and anxiety can rise to the surface of our heart. Darkness can seem to consume us and make us want to run in the other direction and escape to idols. When we are in that dark place, it can feel like we are being lowered into a dark well. God can seem very distant but in actuality, he is holding us so close we can not see him. If we will persevere during those times and join our sufferings to Christ, remembering that there is nothing negative we can experience that he didn't experience, especially on the cross because he took on our sin, we will be transformed from glory to glory into the Lord's image.

We can also find consolation in the fact that we are not alone. Besides the Lord experiencing this kind of darkness, so did many of the Saints. St, John of the Cross has a whole book about the 'Dark Night of the Soul'. Mother Theresa experienced it for forty years. Can you imagine the glory she is experiencing now?!

The analogy most often used to describe this process and one that is found in the bible is of gold being refined in the fire which is an excellent analogy. When gold encounters fire it causes the dross or scum to surface and then it needs to be skimmed off. In the same way as we encounter the fire of God's love (Hebrews 12:29), the impurities in our own heart will surface and need to be skimmed off. Just like the gold, as we surrender to God's love and allow him to do this work in us, we will shine brighter and be even more beautiful than before, giving greater glory to God.

Another analogy that can be used to describe this process is a bottle with a little bit of soap at the bottom. You may not even notice that there is soap in the bottom of the bottle until you pour water into it. This causes bubbles to form and rise to the surface. The only thing that will cause the bubbles to rise and come out is to continue to pour water into the bottle. Eventually the water will run clear. As we allow the water of the Holy Spirit to pour into us, imperfections will rise to the surface. As we persevere and continue to allow the water in, the imperfections will leave and we will experience more of God's presence and greater clarity in our life.

Now, it is almost not natural to put oneself in a place to experience this kind of discomfort. That is why if we are trying to walk in the light of Christ, the world will hate us. My four year old made a pretty profound statement recently as she said, "The soldiers killed Jesus because they didn't like light and Jesus is the light of the world." In John 15:18, Jesus says, "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first." There are many who are not going to "get" us. That's okay. As we give our whole selves over to Christ whole heartily, leaving the World behind, the glory we will encounter and become will far surpass anything the world could have offered (Matthew 19:29).

Hebrews 12:1-3 - Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

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