From Pauses for Pentecost
We all, who with unveiled faces reflect the Lord’s glory,
are being transformed into his image with ever-increasingly glory,
which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
(2 Corinthians 3:18)
As people of faith, we constantly face the challenge of being credible to the people around us. In fact, it could be the greatest challenge facing us at the present moment of history. Are we living signs of contradiction to the world’s dominant values centered around money, sex, and power? Do our faces reflect the radiant presence of Christ with ever-increasing glory? Is there any evidence that the Holy Spirit is transforming our self-centered lives into a greater likeness of Christ? As an atheist once said to those Christians he knew, “I will believe in your Savior when you look more saved.”
Constantly, we need to remind ourselves that the Holy Spirit is the great transformer. We cannot just stay the same. From the inside out, the Lord who is Spirit wants to change us into “little Christs.” It is an inward change that goes far beyond the external. It is a total renovation of our lives on the inside – the renovation of our hearts, our will, our thoughts, and our feelings – that involves a process of transformation that causes us to reflect the glory of Jesus wherever we are. Ultimately, only this kind of transformed life will serve as an adequate response to the credibility challenge.
How does this inner change take place? On the one hand, we must grasp that it is the work of the Holy Spirit who changes us. It is not something that we bring about ourselves by trying harder to be like Jesus. It is always an inner work of the Spirit, a gift of grace given to us as we live with open hands before God. On the other hand, we need to cooperate with the Spirit. Inner change does not fall from Heaven on the lazy and the passive. We need to work with the Spirit to become the people God wants us to be. This is one reason each meditation in Pauses for Pentecost comes with a simple daily practice. The daily practices are there to open our lives more widely to the transforming grace of the Spirit. After all, “Faith, by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead,” (James 2:17).
Take five to ten minutes to sit with open hands before God. Pray simply, Holy Spirit, make me like Jesus. Repeat this prayer whenever you need to today.