2 Corinthians 3:12-18 Amplified Bible
12 Since we have such a [glorious] hope and confident expectation, we speak with great courage, 13 and we are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the Israelite’s would not gaze at the end of the glory which was fading away. 14 But [in fact] their minds were hardened [for they had lost the ability to understand]; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed [only] in Christ. 15 But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil [of blindness] lies over their heart; 16 but whenever a person turns [in repentance and faith] to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty [emancipation from bondage, true freedom]. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit.
The Word of God for the Children of God.
Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.
Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.
Becoming Like Christ
2 Corinthians 3:15-18 Amplified Bible
15 But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil [of blindness] lies over their heart; 16 but whenever a person turns [in repentance and faith] to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty [emancipation from bondage, true freedom]. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit.
If the Holy Spirit’s work in us is like the work of a master gardener, what is the Spirit growing in us?
The Spirit wants to reproduce Jesus’ character in us.
Our reading from 2 Corinthians today states that we “are being transformed into [Jesus’] image with ever-increasing glory.”
In other words, the Holy Spirit’s aim is to make us more and more like Jesus.
The Holy Spirit’s work is to nudge us, prod us, move us, transform us and shape us to think and act and be more like our Savior Jesus, for us to better mirror Jesus in our character, to increasingly help us love like Jesus in our daily life.
Of course, it’s not an overnight rush job.
The Spirit doesn’t guarantee delivery in full by 8:00 a.m. the next day—or even within a few days, months, years or decades.
This isn’t the work of a courier driver.
This is the work of the Master Gardener, the One with a master’s vision of the finished garden, the One who daily, gradually toils and works in our lives until the desired spiritual fruit eventually sprouts, blossoms, unto the glory of God.
There are times when the Holy Spirit’s work in us will be immediate, dramatic, and maybe even spectacular.
But usually the Spirit’s work in us is slow, subtle and gentle.
That’s the Holy Spirit’s trademark.
We are made in God’s image, in the image of God we are created, (Genesis 1:26-27) but that sacred image became spoiled and polluted in us because of sin.
So now God is slowly remaking that image in us—to be like our Savior Jesus!
Steps Towards Spiritual Freedom
Have we truly noticed that most of our unrest comes from ourselves?
We get stuck ruminating on the things we can’t change or control.
Un-forgiveness stops us from moving toward healing in our relationships.
Pervasive negativity prevents us from enjoying the moment.
Exhaustion keeps us functioning as only a shadow version of ourselves.
Repeated excuses keep us trying the same things over and over again that are no longer capable of working, are burning bridges and stop us from changing.
Fear, guilt and shame stop us cold from accepting God’s free gift of grace.
Our unhappiness lives in our souls and finding peace starts as a process of Holy Spirit-led self-discovery.
How many of us will spend our lives turning a blind eye to our own hangups?
In our own stubborn blindness, we refuse to consider that maybe the rhythm of frustration we are up against might be something we have the power to change.
It’s so much easier to render our judgments, and then blame our surroundings.
To point out the sliver in our neighbor’s eye, all while avoiding our own planks. (Matthew 7:1-5)
We so often live stuck in a giant sheet of bubble wrap we wrapped around us.
Thank God He is patient with us!
Thank God that God knows exactly what to do with bubble wrap – POP IT!
How, then, do we allow ourselves to be “popped by God” to get us past our blindness and grab onto the gracious freedom that God promises each of us?
1. Freedom comes when we abandon pride.
The path towards freedom begins with a surrendering of the pride we each hold that claims we have what we need to fix ourselves all on our own.
This pride tells us to be ashamed, embarrassed, fearful and humiliated when we don’t live up to our own internal standards.
It relies on rules and religion rather than grace and a relationship with Jesus.
Step one towards freedom and making peace with the people God created us to be is to abandon our pride.
The Bible teaches that pride comes before a fall (Proverbs 16:18), and the humble find wisdom (Proverbs 11:2).
2. God’s wisdom teaches us how to change.
Wisdom helps us change.
Only through God’s miraculous truth can we see the way past the same thought processes which keep us trapped, wrapped, in our own fears, shame, bitterness.
James 1:5 prompts us to ask God for wisdom when we don’t have it.
He gives it freely when we have a humble heart.
When we read and study God’s Word, spend time in his church, seek Him and His Kingdom through prayer, we discover what godly wisdom looks like.
Proverbs 1:7 instructs us that wisdom is found in the context of community.
We have to be willing to accept advice and instruction when we are stuck and looking for a new way forward.
Proverbs 3:7 tells us that wisdom turns away from evil.
If our own set patterns get us stuck in sin over and over, then God’s wisdom, and our Savior’s Cross, His Resurrection power moves us away from that evil temptation that keeps repeatedly keeps maliciously tugging at our souls.
3. Freedom points us towards others.
Interestingly God gives us the internal power through the Holy Spirit to find spiritual freedom, not so we can just enjoy ourselves better.
Even though a free you is a happier you and is a you that you can be confident in and enjoy.
The purpose of this Christ-purchased freedom is that we can serve others.
Isaiah 61:1 tells us God’s spirit in our lives gives us the ability to bring good news to the poor, assist the brokenhearted, and set free those imprisoned in this world!
We are set free, so we can help others find that same freedom.
When we find ourselves stuck, wrapped in our own frustrations or even upset with others in our lives because their sin nature is making our lives harder, we are invited to draw on God’s spirit to see new ways to love and to serve others.
4. God’s spirit sets us free.
2 Corinthians 3:17 says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
There is a mysterious element to spiritual freedom.
Freedom is an indescribable moment or journey that can take time where Heaven meets us here on Earth.
Areas I’ve sought freedom in has been anxiety over diabetes management.
For me, this freedom journey has taken years, but God has been my faithful teacher and sustainer through step forward and backward, each up and down.
Other times our freedom is like a dam breaking all at once.
The old life is washed away in an instant, and a new one is ready to begin.
Why does God work one way in my life and a different way in yours?
That is part of the mystery of the Spirit.
God is connectional and relational and not a rule-based God, which is why each of us has a singularly unique and diverse and vastly different spiritual journey.
One thing the Bible does tell us is that if we want to find freedom in our lives, we have to seek His Kingdom through His Holy Spirit.
Matthew 6:33 Amplified Bible
33 But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.
John 8:36 says, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
Jesus came to Earth, so we could not only escape death and join his family, but so we could experience freedom in our lives here on Earth.
I am so thankful that God has not left me as I was.
He is always renewing my mind and spirit.
May you, by God’s grace, take steps toward spiritual growth and freedom today.
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
Jesus, my Savior, I have been listening to too many lies for far too long. I have been tricked one too many times by the enemy and I am frustrated. I need to be free from these lies. Jesus, I know that You are true and that the truth will set me free. Jesus, help me to rejoice in the truth. I need to believe the truth. I pray that it really would set me free. Help me with my unbelief, Jesus. Holy Spirit, You know my heart, and know that I need help believing. Thank You, Jesus, that You offer truth to Your children. Thank You for Your patience with me. In Your glorious name, I pray.
Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.
Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.