But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
— 2 Corinthians 3:18
Most believers quote the verse above when they are facing a difficult challenge. I did the same thing for many years. I often told myself, “Soon this mess will be over, and when it is, we’re headed to the next level of glory that God has for us! This won’t last long. We’re going from glory to glory!”
But one day I was pondering this verse and thinking deeply about what it meant to go from glory to glory. Suddenly it struck me that it doesn’t say we are going from a mess to glory. It says we are going from glory to glory — in other words, from a current glorious place to another higher glorious place.
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This clearly means that you and I won’t be promoted to the next realm of glory until the realm where we presently live is glorious. So if we want to go upward into a greater glory, we have to first make glorious the place where we are living and functioning right now.
When I saw this, it made me want to take a good, hard look at my life and ministry. I asked myself: Am I living in a glorious stage, or am I stuck in an ugly, messy stage of my life? I realized that according to this verse, I wouldn’t be moving upward into the next great and glorious phase God had for me until the situation I currently found myself in became glorious! Only then would God promote me to the next level of glory He had planned for my life.
So I began to ask myself:
- Have I done all the Lord has told me to do right now?
- Have I really completed the assignment as God instructed me to do?
- Have I done it professionally and on time?
- Have I made my present financial situation glorious, or am I living in financial shambles?
- Have I done everything I can to make this present stage of my life a bright and shining example to others, or is this part of my life a dismal failure of which I’m embarrassed?
- Have I brought this part of my life to a glorious finish?
Second Corinthians 3:18 says, “But we all, with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” I find it very interesting that the first part of this verse talks about us having “open faces.” The word “open” is the Greek word anakalupto, which means to unveil, to uncover, or to disclose. However, the Greek tense doesn’t refer to a one-time unveiling, but to a veil that, once lifted, remains lifted forever.
When I saw this, I immediately understood another very vital truth: We must be willing to permanently remove the veil from our eyes and to take an honest look in the mirror in order to truthfully acknowledge the condition of our present stage. Only after we have truthfully seen and acknowledged what we are can we make a sincere decision to change. A truthful recognition of the facts is part of the process that removes the veil from our eyes so the Lord can correct us, change us, transform us, and prepare us to move upward into the next glorious phase for our lives. That is precisely why the apostle Paul went on to say that we are “changed” after the veil is removed from our eyes.
The word “changed” is the Greek word metamorpho. It is a compound of the words meta and morphoo. The word meta carries the idea of an exchange, while the word morphoo is the Greek word for a person’s outward form. Together, the compound word means to transfigure or transform one’s appearance. The word metamorphoo is never used in the Old Testament Septuagint, and it appears only four times in the New Testament. It is used in Matthew 17:2 and Mark 9:2 to describe the transfiguration of Jesus. Paul also uses it in Romans 12:3 to tell us that we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. And finally, Paul again uses the word metamorphoo here in Second Corinthians 3:18.
There is no doubt that the word “changed” speaks of an actual, real transformation of our minds and even our outward appearance. The Holy Spirit lets us know through Paul that we can actually exchange our present appearance, our current status, for one that is more glorious. If we sincerely desire it, we can move upward and into the glory that God has prepared for us!
Now, we can try to hide our heads in the sand and pretend that everything in our lives is glorious when it is not, but that does not make everything glorious. In fact, denial of the truth will just keep us stuck in the same hard place for a longer period of time. To move into the next phase of our life in God, we must be willing to lift the veil from our eyes and acknowledge that we need to be transformed!
If may be difficult on your flesh and pride, but eventually a time comes when you must look in the mirror to see what is really there! Self-deception is very costly. Telling yourself that everything is all right when it isn’t may temporarily relieve you from the pain of having to look at the facts head-on. But in the end, ignoring the facts will cost you so much more in terms of time, heartbreak, and defeat.
Truthfulness can be painful, but the pain is short-lived and in the end produces tremendous change. But the kind of change I am describing to you today is only initiated when you are willing to get honest with yourself and with God about your behavior, your attitudes, and the condition of every area of your life at this present moment. If you’re willing to remove the veil from your eyes and let the Holy Spirit really show you the areas where you need to be transformed, He will change you. And as this kind of transformation begins to work in you, you will become more and more prepared for upward movement and promotion in your life.
So establish this truth in your heart today: If the stage of life you are in right now is not glorious, you will be stuck in the current mess until you become willing to take off the veil, look honestly at your situation, and begin to make the changes that are required to make your present status more glorious! Once you’ve done that, God will be ready to move you upward and onward to the next more glorious place you are longing to experience!
Yes, it’s true that God wants to take you from glory to glory. However, He isn’t bothered if He has to wait until you correctly finish your current task. God has lots of time. But when you get serious about doing what is necessary to make your present situation glorious, you signal to the Holy Spirit that it’s time to open the way to the next glorious phase God has planned for your life!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, I want to take the veil off my eyes and get honest about my situation. I can see that much of my present life is not glorious. I have wanted You to promote me from my mess to a new level of glory, but I see now that Your promotions always move from one level of glory to a higher level of glory. Show me every area in my life that needs to be changed, and help me give You complete liberty to transform those parts of my life. I want to go to a higher level of glory, Lord, so I am asking You to help me first make my present situation a glorious testimony of Your grace!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I confess that by God’s grace, I am making my present situation more and more glorious! I have asked the Holy Spirit to open my eyes and to help me see those parts of my life that need to be transformed. As He shows me these areas, I will diligently pray about them and do everything I can to allow God to change me so this present season of my life can become glorious. Because the Holy Spirit sees my willingness to go through the necessary transformation process, He is preparing to move me upward into a more glorious phase in my life. I am going from glory to glory!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. What are the areas of your life that are not glorious — the areas you most need to work on?
2. Now that you know God will not promote you higher until you have made your current status glorious, what changes do you need to make in your life right now to get ready for the next step upward?
3. Write down the steps you are going to take to turn your messes into shining examples that will open the way for God to start the promotion process in your life.