2 Corinthians 3:18
“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.”
Have you ever looked around at the circumstances you are facing and wondered what God is doing in your life? Why it is that you are facing these particular trials, while someone else seems to be immune to them. The answer to that question is tucked away in this verse. Paul writes,
“We… Are being transformed into the SAME image…”
All who have trusted Christ for salvation, have been born again and are in the midst of a process that began at conversion, and will continue until we reach heaven. It is the process of being conformed into the image of Jesus. Paul instructed the Romans that God uses all things to reach that end (Romans 8:28). Every difficulty, every blessing, every person, every trial, is a tool in the hand of the Master to make us more like Jesus. Earlier Paul wrote,
“. . . who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant . . . ” (2 Corinthians 3:6)
One of the ways we are made effective ministers, is that we are being made more like Jesus. The longer we walk with Him, the more we should become like Him. If we are struggling to understand what God is doing with a particular trial, we must look into the pages of His Word, at the person of Jesus, and determine what is lacking in us. I am often frustrated by the way others treat me, but then I am reminded of the way Jesus was treated. I realize God desires for me to love those who don’t love me, to be merciful and gracious to those who are unkind or even hostile. The work of Jesus is being done in me.
Notice, Paul not only tells us what God is doing, but how He does it. He writes, we are being transformed, “by the Spirit of the Lord.” This work of becoming more like Jesus is a work of the Spirit. It is not something that can be accomplished apart from the work of God, or by sheer resolve of heart. It is a work done by allowing the Spirit of God to work within us. A number of years ago, I was sitting on the floor of a church listening to Pastor Chuck teach through John 15. As he explained what it meant to abide in Christ, he said, “God does not want to walk through the factory and see all the work you are doing, He wants to walk through the garden and enjoy the fruit.” I remember being particularly struck by that example, realizing that the secret to my growing in Christ, becoming like Christ, and bearing the fruit of Christ, was spending time with Christ.
It is God’s desire for each of us to become more like Jesus. The more like Him we become, the richer life becomes and the more effective we are in reaching others for the Kingdom. However, it is a work of the Spirit; we must allow the Spirit free reign to speak to us, lead us, and correct us through the Word of God. As we subject ourselves to the work of the Spirit, we will also find that the power of the Spirit is available to us. We will truly become “able ministers of the New Covenant.”