No matter what the world, or the church for that matter, may call it, a sin is still a sin, the way of the world, though wide and easy, still leads to destruction, the way to life has a narrow gate and a difficult path.
No, I don’t mean it like that.
I’m still reeling a bit from yesterday’s sermon (every now and then even I preach one that messes with me). It was Transfiguration Sunday, and of course the text for the day was Matthew 17:1-8.
If you’ve been in church a while, you know the story. Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up on the mountain to pray. While there, Jesus is transfigured, that is, His face shone like the sun, His clothes were white as light. For a moment, the disciples actually caught a glimpse of Christ in His glory, radiant in splendor. There with Him were Moses and Elijah – and Peter, and there are endless possibilities for his motive here, said let’s build a tent. Then a bright cloud surrounded them, and they heard a voice from heaven saying, “This is my son, whom I love, listen to him.” Peter, James, and John fell on thier faces, knowing they were in the presence of God. Then Jesus comes to them, touching them and saying, “Rise, have no fear.” Then Matthew tells us, when they lifted their eyes, “they saw no one but Jesus only.”
That last line really hit me. Who have I been looking at lately? What are you looking at?
I hear friends stressing over thier relationships, worrying about what other people think about them, why they never feel accepted.
I hear others who are so overwhelmed by the circumstances of life, they know they don’t have the strength to go on, and they wonder if God really even cares about them.
I hear some who want to grow closer to the Lord, but struggle with daily discipline, keep facing set-backs in their fight against sin, and wonder if it’s worth all the effort.
I hear some who think that the previous sentence is pointless – that the only sin that really exists is the judgment others have placed on us, or that we place on ourselves, that true savlation comes in learning to accept ourselves and others – and that’s what Jesus is about.
I hear pastors pondering if the church as we know it is dead or worth reviving, if perhaps we shouldn’t look to new “emerging” models of being the church. Shelves are filled, key words buzz around, innovative speakers get paid well to sell their idea of what the church should be.
I hear all this, and I wonder, “What are you looking at?”
Are you looking at what the world thinks of you, or what Jesus thinks? Are you measuring yourself against the standard of the world, or in the grace and mercy of God in Christ. Are you placing yourself under the judgment of the law, or are you living by the Spirit of Chirst? Are you considering the cross of Christ which purchased your pardon from sin and death, so that you may no longer be a slave to the old way of life, so that you can live in the new life He has given? Are you looking to Christ, who gave His life so that His bride, the church, could be cleansed and preserved for Himself?
Are you looking to the world, or are you looking to Christ.
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.