What a beautiful full moon we had last week! I am intrigued when the full moon rises at the end of Alamo Drive before I turn left on Vanden. (Those who don’t live here in Vacaville have no idea what I’m talking about.) The moon is low on the horizon and framed by the trees and seems nearly twice as big as when it ascends high above me. I used to think there was a simple explanation for this, but apparently, it is an illusion that is yet to be definitively explained. [see Moon Illusion on the internet] All I know is that the glories of the Moon wax and wane with its relationship to the Sun, the atmosphere, and its angle of elevation.
Paul talks about reflected light in today’s text. He is referring to the light of God’s glory as reflected in the life and work of the believer. In the days of Moses, the glory of God shone on those who were permitted to draw near to God. In His glorious presence, they could be enlightened, literally, and carry that glow away with them for a time. But the reflection of God’s brilliance would fade. The glory waxed and waned. By contrast, Paul says, we now have a new covenant, a new relationship with God, where the Spirit of God is ever-present with us. The Spirit in us allows us to reflect the glory of God at all times. The Spirit in us transforms us so that the glory shines in ever-increasing brightness.
Moses used to wear a veil to hide the fact that the glory of God was fading from his face. The people might get discouraged, thinking that the presence of God with their leader was an on-again, off-again proposition. But Paul says since he turned away from the old way of relating to God, through religionism and legalism, and turned by faith to Jesus Christ, he can boldly go unveiled. God the Spirit never stops shining in him.
This is what made Paul competent for ministry. Not his degrees or his experience so much as his shining with the light of Christ’s Spirit. Not the numbers of his endorsements or letters of recommendation, but the perpetual glow of the presence of God in him. And standing illuminated in that glow was the proof of his competency -- the lives he had changed. His credentials were each and every Corinthian Christian he had led to the Cross.
Friend, where are you in relationship to the Son? When the world gets between the Moon and Sun, there is no glorious reflection. What happens when the stuff of earth gets between you and the Son of God? Do you quench the Spirit with your worldly ways? Or does your glow wax and wane because you relate to God in the old religionist way? Come humbly with your empty lamp and He will fill you with His Spirit and set you ablaze!
Leader, are you leaning on your learning, your skills, and your strategies to succeed at your ministry? Those are but bulbs of varying size and color; where is the filament? Where is the power and glory to illuminate them and bring them to life, and then bring people to life in their light?
The Spirit of God is the key. Christ in you is your only hope of glory. Shine!
Pray: Brilliant, inextinguishable God, be my fuel, my wick and my flame. You glow with the light of love and mercy, holiness and truth. Cast out all the darkness in me. Make my life and work a reflection of all your glorious attributes.