Mirror, mirror on the Wall
Today’s reading in our “21 Days of the Spirit” devotional guide takes us back to one of the first verse that we looked at, 2 Corinthians 3:18. The journal has the verse in the NKJV here in day four. Seeing verses in different translations gives us an opportunity to look at the verse in a slightly different light. There is a lot of good stuff here…this verse contains a lot—”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” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJV).
I am constantly amazed at the depth there is in the Bible. I have read this verse a number of times. I have studied this verse, preached on this verse, written about this verse—and still I am seeing things here that I did not see the first gazillion times I read it. When I was putting together the devotional guide I was struck by the mirror concept here—how Jesus is like a mirror and the Spirit causes us to look in the mirror (Jesus). In my rereading of this verse this morning, my attention was drawn to the world “beholding.” This word is not commonly used anymore. Think back…when was the last time you heard someone use this word in a sentence? When was the last time you overheard two guys standing around talking and one of them saying, “Yeah Hank, I was beholding your pickup truck and I noticed you have an oil leak.” Or when was the last time you overheard a woman asking her husband or friend, “Would you behold my backside and tell me if these jeans make it look big?” We don’t use that word so often, so I spent this morning dwelling on it.
As I went poking around the Scripture to understand this word “beholding,” I noticed that the NIV uses the phrase “reflect the Lord’s glory,” it is the KJV and the NKJV that uses the phrase “beholding as in a mirror (KJV says beholding in a glass).” In Greek, the phrase is all one word katoptrizomenoi. (Don’t try to pronounce this one. Not only is it hard to pronounce…it is hard to unpack, because it is a present middle participle that is nominative, masculine and plural). The word means “the ones looking at themselves in a mirror.” The NKJV does a better job of translating this than the NIV, because the word in the context of the verse should read: “We who have unveiled faces are the ones who are looking at ourselves in a mirror and we are being transformed into his likeness with increasing glory by the Spirit.”
Alrighty then…. so enough with the Greek mumbo jumbo….here is the point. Beholding, looking, reflecting our image in a mirror takes time. This is where I was going with all of this “beholding” talk. To behold something takes time. It is not a passing glance or a casual look. To behold takes time. The verse has two ideas that are slamed together—“the ones looking in a mirror” and “being transformed by the Spirit.” These two ideas go together, because I believe that the Holy Spirit in working in my heart to make me look at Jesus. I think he is just like your mom, when she would grab your face and say, “look at me!” I don’t know if this ever happened to you, but this is something that Jenni and I do with our youngest son who is mildly autistic. If he is avoiding eye contact, sometimes I gently grab his chin and direct his face to my face and say, “Look at Daddy.” Then I start talking. I think that the Holy Spirit does the same thing to us. He grabs our spiritual face and redirects our attention to Jesus so that we can stare at Jesus—who is the mirror. He is the picture of what we as human beings are supposed to look like, act like and think like. I so need this. Here is my prayer for today: Holy Spirit, plase don’t give up on me…no matter how much I fight to stay busy, continue to MAKE me SLOW DOWN, so that I can stare longingly and lovingly at Jesus. I am so pitifully distracted and tempted to worship the god of business / busyness. Tis is the American way, but not the Jesus way. Help me! In Jesus’ name, AMEN.
My action items for the day are blunt, but true:
1) Slow the heck down
2) Don’t use the word “busy”
3) Look at Jesus
Some of these thoughts came from Bruce Ware’s book on the Trinity called Father, Son, & Holy Spirit: Relationships, Roles, & Relevance. It is a good book about the Trinity, although I think his theological agenda behind the subordination of women is a bit distracting. Nevertheless, this is a good book if you are interested in studying more about the Trinity.