“You are what you eat.” This old saying is true to a degree in the physical realm—our diet affects our health. It is true to a greater degree on a spiritual level. What we feed on, whether the Word of God or the trash of the world, impacts our spiritual health.
Change one word of this saying, and we have another truth that is borne out in Scripture. “You are what you see.”
How does this work? In an interesting illustration, many have observed that couples who are married a long time often end up looking like each other. Scientists have suggested that a husband and wife subconsciously imitate each other’s facial expressions, which through years of seeing each other eventually fashions their facial features alike. Looking at each other makes them look like each other.
God has revealed this principle at work in the spiritual realm, using Moses as an example. When Moses asked to see God’s glory, God told him that no man could see His face and live. Instead, He would hide Moses in a fissure in the rock and cover him with His hand while He walked by. Then He would remove His hand so Moses could see His back (Ex 33:18-23).
What Moses saw must have been glorious beyond imagination. Tempered as it was, God’s glory set Moses’ skin to shining so brightly that Aaron and the people couldn’t bear to behold him. Moses had to veil his shining face while he spoke to them (Ex 34:29-35). Referring to this incident, the Spirit through Paul describes the Gospel of Jesus Christ as far more glorious than the old covenant. He then makes a striking application to all Christians: “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” (2Co 3:18).
Like Moses, and unlike the Israelites, we behold the glory of the Lord “with open [unveiled] face.” Like Moses, we cannot gaze directly on the glory of His face; rather, we see Him “as in a glass,” through the mirror of the Gospel. and the Lord whose glory we behold is Jesus Christ, “who is the image of God” (2Cor4:4).
The glory of God on Moses’ face was but a shadow of His glory in the face of Jesus Christ. It is through Christ that God manifests His glory to New Testament saints. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth…. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:14,18).
Then as we gaze upon the glorious face of our Lord, a remarkable thing happens. Like Moses, we “are changed into the same image.” Our features take on a resemblance to Christ, and we glow with the glory of God that shines in the face of His Son. Unlike Moses, we can radiate a glory that does not fade away, but continues “from glory to glory.” This expression does not mean from one high point to the next, with dark valleys between. Rather, it means “with ever increasing glory.” It is a life of growing in glowing. The more we look at Jesus, the more we look like Him.
To use a primitive illustration, we remember those glow-in-the-dark toys we got from the cereal box when we were children. We would hold one near an incandescent bulb to soak in the brilliance for a while, and then take it into a dark room to observe the effect. The light it produced in the darkness was not really its own, and the longer it was absent from the source, the dimmer it grew. So for the Christian to shine with ever increasing glory in a dark world, he must continually stay close to the Source, sitting at the feet of Jesus and beholding the light of His face.
God’s purpose in all this is to manifest His glory to the world. He displayed His glory through Jesus Christ so the world can see how it looks in human form. Now by looking at Him, we learn how God’s glory should look in our own lives. And more than that, through our beholding Him, He sets us on fire with the same glory. To manifest God’s glory to the world today—this is why we are here. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2Co 4:6).
How do we behold Jesus Christ in His physical absence? We see Him through the eye of faith. We see Him in the mirror of the Gospel, as we read how He acted and spoke when He was here on earth. We see Him by receiving Him, upon which He gives us power to become God’s sons and daughters, making Christ our brother. We see Him through the Holy Spirit, who reveals the Son to us. We see Him as we dwell in Him, and He in us. We see Him by fellowshipping with Him—talking with Him and hearing His voice. We see Him by obeying His commandments, by which we grow in understanding His will. We see Him by finding Scriptural answers to the question, “What would Jesus do?” in our everyday situations. We see Him by admiring and worshipping Him, and in so doing become like Him, for we become like whom we worship.
The more the Gospel glow grows, the more glory goes to God. because as with Moses, whose radiance was plainly not his own but imparted by exposure to God’s glory, so the glory in our Christ-like lives will clearly be from Him. It will be obvious that we have been with Jesus. “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (2Co 4:7).
If seeing Him through a glass makes us grow more and more like Him here on earth, what will happen when we see Him face to face? “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1Jo 3:2).
Seeing Him as He is will raise the transformation to a level far more glorious than anything we could now know. but the process begins here.