I had carried a pair of binoculars to do a little bird-watching, but saw on the northeast corner of the property what looked like a giant orange bloom. So I lifted those heavy lenses and got a surprise. The bloom did not really exist. What I saw was the sun shining on a clump of dried out pine straw hanging on a low, dead limb. I pulled down the binoculars and looked again. I much preferred the big orange bloom.
Then I started looking around and saw some more. The dull green leaves near the top of the tree glinted like small mirrors in the few rays of sun that had pierced through to them. Even the gray Spanish moss resembled icicles. I knew in a few minutes the effect would all be gone. The sun would have risen high enough not to perform these magic tricks. Still, it reminded me of something important.
All by myself I am nothing, I can do nothing, and I have nothing to hope for. But the light of the gospel changes everything. Through that light, we are able to see the glory of Christ and believe (2 Cor 4:3-6.) When we are raised from the waters of baptism, God’s glory gives us the power to walk “in newness of life” (Rom 6:4). We transform ourselves into the image of His Son by the renewing of our minds (Rom 12:2, 8:29). When the glory of the Lord shines on us through our submission to his gospel, what looks plain and ordinary becomes beautiful, what looks dead and repulsive becomes glorious. That’s us we’re talking about—you and me. We can be beautiful.
Look at your life today. Would someone see a beautiful bloom, a sparkling mirror, a glittering icicle? They will only if you have allowed that light inside you, if you have let it have its way, transforming you into the person God meant you to be from the beginning. Some will not do this. They fight it, and offer excuses of all sorts. “I’m only human after all.” “No one is perfect.” “Someone has to have common sense around here and not be such an innocent babe!” “It’s my right after all.” None of those will give anyone a beautiful view of a child of God.
Peter reminds us, As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy." 1 Peter 1:14-16. If we are not submissive to his will, we will never be transformed to his image. We will look like nothing but dried out pine straw on a dead limb, and all the excuses in the world will never change it.
“What would Jesus do?” may be an old denominational catch-phrase, but is it any different than, “Be ye holy as I am holy?” God desires nothing more than for us to be exactly like Christ, “conformed to the image of his son” Rom 8:29, “that you might follow in his steps” 1 Pet 2:21. If you find yourself looking through the world’s binoculars and seeing nothing but your old self, the light of the gospel has not reached your heart.
Conform yourself today. In every aspect of your life, in every action you take, and every word you speak, “be ye holy in all your conduct.” You can do it, or God wouldn’t have asked it of you.
But we all, with unveiled face reflecting as a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit. 2 Cor 3:18.