Carnival fun house mirrors are amusing as we parade in front of them and see how they distort us. They don’t really change us, we know. When we walk out of the fun house, we look just like we did when we walked in because only our outward appearance changed temporarily.
Wouldn’t it be great if, instead of just showing us what we looked like, or distorting us, a mirror we gazed into actually transformed us?
I myself would absolutely love it if, the next time I tried on clothes at my favorite clothing store, the mirror would make 20 pounds actually disappear from my body! (Was that an “Amen, sister!” I heard echoing somewhere in the background? Was that you?)
I know some men would pay whatever it would cost them if, the next time they went to the bathroom or the gym and stood in front of the mirror, real muscles would appear and fat blobs would disappear in all the strategic locations.
The Bible teaches us that worship is a mirror that transforms the gazer. As far as I know, it is the only mirror that even comes close to offering the human race a transforming effect with a steady gaze. Here is a verse that you may have heard in a sermon somewhere, but didn’t know where it was:
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 from the Lord, the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18, NASB.
Behold the glory of the Lord. Be transformed into the same image. What in the world does all that mean, especially for the single Christian?
As you begin to spend time beholding, gazing, looking upon, staring at, the glory of God, you will become like what you are looking at. You will become like Him.
There is a precedent for this in the Bible. Moses spent 40 intense days in the presence of God on Mount Sinai. When he came off the mountain, he glowed with the radiance of that glory. The Israelites were awestruck and afraid to approach him (Exodus 34:29-35).
Can staring at God, the holiest being in the universe, Who is so holy that He Himself told Moses, “You can’t see My face or you will die,” really transform us? How is that possible if I’m “just staring” at Him and “not doing anything else?” Let’s see if we can figure this out.
When you’re gazing into the face and the eyes of someone you adore—romantic interest, grand baby, happy pet—the whole world disappears. Time stands still. Sounds diminish. Outside interests fade away. The world passes by, and you two being together is the only thing that matters. You’re focused on them, and they’re focused on you. You remember that feeling?
Your connection with them is the energy and power of love, awestruck glances exchanged between minds and hearts.
You would do anything for him or her.
You want to please them, help them, support them, enjoy them, discover life with them, communicate everything from your heart to theirs, see the world through their eyes, make them smile, make their life easier and safer and softer. You can’t spend enough time discovering who they are. You revel in the joy of finding the minutest detail of their existence and experience. You begin unconsciously picking up and imitating their idiosyncrasies.
When the other person is God, you will recall that He is the creator of the universe, Genesis chapters 1 & 2. You recall that He raised dead people back to life, John 11:38-44. He healed people from debilitating terminal diseases, Mark 5:25-30, and delivered them from defiant demons, Matthew 12:22. He had the power to change ordinary water into the best aged wine on the planet, John 2:1-11.
He is a Being with unlimited power and unlimited love.
He cannot be tempted or tainted with sin, James 1:13. Sin never has any effect on Him, but when He interacts with sin, the other side is impacted. This simple video illustration is a shadow of what that transaction looks like from our perspective: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYQ076BgbGM
Whether you gaze at your romantic interest or your God with longing adoration, it’s still love.
That is what worship is: gazing with longing adoration at your God. Not just your physical eyes, clearly, but with the eyes of your heart, Ephesians 1:18-19.
Then you want to please Him, help Him, support Him, enjoy Him, discover life with Him, communicate everything from your heart to His, see the world through His eyes, make Him smile. You can’t spend enough time discovering Who He is. You revel in the joy of finding the minutest detail of His existence and experience. You begin unconsciously picking up and imitating His idiosyncrasies.
The power that created the universe out of nothing, transforms, heals, cleanses, purifies, resurrects, is now connected with your spirit and soul by the love you return to Him. That love is a two-way bridge that allows Him to flow into you and flow through you.
The more time you spend on that bridge and keep it open, the more He can trust you with. When you start getting way out there, you begin to ask Him to make your heart like His, to let Him break your heart by what breaks His heart.
That love, like a beautiful and intoxicating fragrance, will begin to permeate your character, your motives, your attitude, your words, your behavior, your habits, Mark 14:3-9. That love will blossom a thousand different ways as He begins to invade and transform who you are from the inside out.
Yes, staring at God–worship—will transform you.
When you become aware of His love and His presence during those secret times of prayer and adoration, that awareness begins to carry into the rest of your day, like that intoxicating fragrance.
Said of 17th century French monk Brother Lawrence: “His prayer was nothing else but a sense of the presence of GOD, his soul being at that time insensible to everything but Divine love: and that when the appointed times of prayer were past, he found no difference, because he still continued with GOD, praising and blessing Him with all his might, so that he passed his life in continual joy…”
And worship is so much more than just singing songs around a campfire or in church, people!
It’s a humbling of the mind and an attitude of the heart. It’s a love affair between you and God, except that it’s totally legit and positive!
Music helps, make no mistake about it. But music that really ministers to the Lord is about Him. It’s not about us.
It’s not about how well we can sing or harmonize. It’s not getting worked up emotionally to do your duty. It’s not about being loud and drawing attention to yourself and looking spiritual. It’s not just a reminder to yourself about what He has done in your life or the lives of others.
It’s all about love. It’s about talking directly to Him.
When was the last time you set aside some time to speak secretly and earnestly to the lover of your soul?
I’m talking to myself here now.
I try to wake up every morning and have the first thing I say be, “Good morning, Lord!” to acknowledge His presence and authority in my life that day. I thank Him for His love and salvation. Then I try to stay off social media and spend time worshiping Him by singing or reading His Word. Recently I’ve been in Isaiah.
If I stay up too late the night before on social media, I will be tired and less likely to spend time with Him the next day. I know this about myself. I sometimes have to work at cultivating the love from me to Him when I’m alone. I am generally awake enough on those days to sing worship songs on my way to work or during church services.
Brothers and sisters, I am no super spiritual saint. I personally know how challenging it can be to cultivate that love relationship between my Lord and I! It’s like working on a marriage.
I do like to sing Him songs and sometimes read Psalms and other scriptures that address Him in first person. If journaling, writing or reading Him poetry, imagining yourself sitting next to Him or on His lap as though you were His baby girl or boy, slow movements of love like a dance, and kneeling or lying face down flat on the floor help you gain a clearer perspective of Who He is to you, go for it. If it helps, He is longing to hear from you and whisper sweet somethings into your life.
Join the ranks of those who have been saved by His powerful love and are learning how to return that love. Will you let the undisputed lover of your soul speak life to you today?
Below are resources that I have used and continue to use. I hope you find them helpful. See you next week.
First. Lauren Daigle
Holy Spirit. Francesca Battestelli
Beautiful One. Jeremy Camp.
Beautiful Day. Jamie Grace
Even When It Hurts. Hillsong United
You Are Good. Israel Houghton
Oceans. Hillsong United
Your Love Never Fails. Newsboys
From the Inside Out. Hillsong United
Overcome. Jeremy Camp
Brother Lawrence quote
Brother Lawrence. Excerpt from 131 Christians Everyone Should Know. Editors of Christian History Magazine, M. Galle and T. Olsen, Editors. Broadman & Holman, publishers. 2000.
My Heart, Christ’s Home. Robert Munger.