“And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.” – 2 Corinthians 3:18
When I was in middle and high school, I was very involved in our church’s youth group. I went on as many retreats and summer camps as I could attend. Often, I fell into a familiar pattern: I would go to an event and be so inspired and on fire for Christ, that I’d come home feeling completely changed and renewed in my spiritual life. I’d make these big promises to myself and to God: “I’m going to pray and read my Bible every day—as a matter of fact, I’m going to read the whole Bible by this time next year!”
Inevitably, over time my prayer journal would have more and more days in between entries. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read the first chapters of Genesis with the intention of making it all the way through to the book of Revelation. However, by the time that annual retreat or camp came back around, I was left feeling ashamed. Why didn’t it work? Why did my faith journey feel like I was riding a roller coaster?
With time, I began to realize that rather than the drastic ups and downs, our faith walk is more like a steady climb. Sure, you may hit some ruts, or even have moments where you feel as though you’re walking on air. But when you zoom out to get more perspective on your life: is the overall progression moving closer to Christ? Are you going on to perfection?
Yes, with the help of God.
Paul writes that “all of us…are being transformed into the [glory of the Lord] from one degree of glory to another.” This transformation may be dramatic at times, but overall, it is a steady, disciplined change. And there is more good news! We are not in this work alone: “for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.” By God’s grace, we are being transformed, becoming more like Christ each step of the way.
O God, help us to see ourselves as you see us. May we be convicted of our shortcomings and receive your grace—a grace that is healing, renewing, and a steady presence in our lives as we are being transformed for your purpose. Amen.
Katy Medinas-Lockley is the associate pastor at Ardmore UMC in Winston-Salem