Without a revelation of God’s love and an understanding of the process of transformation, Christians will go into each new day of their lives either trying to gain God’s favor, or throw in the towel because they failed to live up to Biblical standards.
Here is a great principle to help us in our weaknesses and struggles: When our eyes are on ourselves we sink lower; when our eyes are on Jesus we rise higher. Or to say it another way, when we are sin-conscious it genders more bondage to the flesh, but when we are Son-conscious it brings liberty and transformation.
There’s an old hymn the saints of God have sung for generations that serves to remind us of this powerful principle.
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.”
When the children of Israel were instructed to look at the brazen serpent they were healed of their leprosy (Num. 21:8-9). This brazen serpent was an angelic being and a type of Christ.
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up” (Jn. 3:14).
If we want to learn to walk in the Spirit and have victory over sin, habits, and temptation we must train ourselves to look on Jesus. He is the author and finisher of our faith. This means that the work He has started in us He will finish.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:1-2).
Notice the two simultaneous instructions given here in this verse. We are to “lay aside” every weight and sin so we can run our Christian race with endurance, and secondly, we are to do this by “looking unto Jesus”.
Looking unto Jesus is the difference between trying to produce results in our own strength and effort, and trusting in God’s ability in us to do it.
The grace of God is His ability and empowerment to do what His truth demands of us. This sanctifying grace is accessed through faith. Faith is simply trusting the Lord.
In other words, stop tinkering with your flesh and your soul with all their weaknesses, shortcomings, and flaws and learn to simply look to the Lord –beholding His glory. Sounds too simple, doesn’t it? But in fact, it is a great truth.
“But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image” (2 Cor. 3:16-18 – NLT).
The veil this scripture speaks of is a blindness and a hardness that every man has before he comes to Christ. The verses before teach us that Israel had this blindness when they read the Law in the Old Testament. The Law only served to render every man guilty of sin. It exposed every man’s sin without the power to set him free from sin. The Law could only produce a sin consciousness. It was a veil that blinded Israel. But that veil is removed when a person turns to Christ or puts his faith in Him. When that veil is removed there is freedom to see the Lord and to reflect His glory.
The image of God that the heavenly Father has provided for us is Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “he that has seen Me has seen the Father” (Jn. 14:9). The more you see Jesus, the more you are changed. It is the Father’s will for you to be changed into the glorious image of Christ. His image is what creates grace in us.
How does that happen?
The seed of the image of Christ is planted in a man when he is born again. It is God’s gift of grace to man. It is then up to him to water that seed. As you read the Word of God, especially the gospels, see every attribute of Christ as your own. See His life as your own. Behold His glory as in a mirror, and as you do, His image is brought forth in you by the Spirit of God and not by your own works. Your work is only to see Him – to behold Him. This is how you begin possessing His image in your own heart and life. This is first accomplished by seeing Christ with a living hope. In other words fill your hope with His image for it is “Christ in us, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).
But here is a warning: His image in you will be distorted if you are not separated from the world. Being set apart from the world will enable you to see His glory. In other words, to turn to the Lord means that you’ve turned not only from the Law, but from sin and the world. Anything short of that will keep a veil over your mind to some extent where you are hindered from seeing the Lord as He is. That is the condition for seeing God and beholding His glory.