Presence. Encounter. Transformation.
Today we speak about Encounter …
The chief goal for my own life, and I hope for those who choose to be under my pastoral influence, is to be continually transformed into the image of Jesus! Fortunately, this happens to be God’s goal for every follower of his as well! I am profoundly aware that this transformation cannot happen in our own righteous self-effort. We need God to encounter and empower us to be truly conformed, from inside out, into the image of Jesus. Thank God for Holy Spirit!
Here is how the apostle Paul put it, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor 3:18 ESV). Paul is referencing Moses and the transformation that happened to him. So impacted was Moses by his encounter with God on Mt Sinai that his face shone with the glory of God! Wow! However, because that glory began to fade, Moses started to wear a veil.
Now, for those who have encountered Jesus and have been filled with his Spirit, the glory that we have received is never meant to fade away. Rather, that glory is only meant to increase! As that glory increases we are transformed by degrees into the image of Jesus! The way for that glory to increase is for us to continually “behold” God. What we behold is what we become.
How do we encounter God today? Because, like the people of Israel, it’s one thing to be conscious of God’s presence it’s another thing to encounter God in that presence.
There are a variety of ways that we can encounter God today.
One place of encounter can be in the worship experience, corporately or individually. God inhabits the praises of his people and as we worship him with open hearts, he meets us and we are changed.
Another place is through his Word, either through public preaching or personal Bible study. We know that as we listen for his voice through his Word, we are transformed by the renewing of our minds.
Meditating on his Presence in the Holy Communion can lead to powerful life changing encounters with Christ.
For all of us, we can encounter him in our place of prayer, our “tent of meeting”. Of course, if we are attentive to his voice, we can encounter him any time in the day, through other people, and even in the most mundane of moments, because he is always with us.
Some people can have quite dramatic, Moses-like, encounters with God. Others have less dramatic but equally life-changing encounters. Others, like me, tend to have more gradual “aha” moments when a revelation will dawn on me and it will change the way I think.
Our goal in life though is to be Transformed through Encounters in his Presence. Let it be, Lord!