I am a naturally quiet and independent person. I prefer to listen than talk, and to persevere rather than ask for help. In many situations I will put others before myself, and will resist others doing the same to me.
The danger for me is that in a quest to do and be good, I often remove myself from the community and care from others. Furthermore by focusing on the law, I am veiled to the glory of God. The Bible states this clearly:
2 Corinthians chapter 3, verses 13 – 15:
We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts.
It is easy to try to be independent, and focus purely on the law and doing what I consider good. This is tempting, because our actions are something that we can control. However it is only through accepting Christ can we truly see clearly (verse 14).
In my walk with Christ the temptation to be independent has been a difficult thing to overcome, and subsequently my relationship with God (and others) has suffered. By attempting to be Christ-like in my actions without acknowledging Christ himself I have a foggy view of God. By focusing on the action, I have somewhere along the way lost meaning and the Spirit within me.
We are called to become like Christ, not to be Christ
No effort or sacrifice we ever make will be close to the glory of Christ and his martyrdom – and we should never think that anything we do will even come close. To think otherwise is to look through a veil. The purpose of the law is only revealed to us now, through the knowledge of Christ (verses 13-15). Furthermore, the only way we can become like Christ is through contemplation and reflection on the glory of the Lord.
2 Corinthians chapter 3 verses 16 – 18:
But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplatethe Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
When we focus on the Lord we can see clearly (verse 16) and be transformed into his image (verse 18). What should be clear is that no action, great or small by itself can bring us closer to or more like, God. The action of Christ is the only action that matters (verse 14) and that we contemplate the Lord (verse 18).
Contemplating the glory of God
I am a far too independent person when it comes to trying to be like Christ. These passages remind me that there is a path to become closer to God, which is to be transformed by Him. Despite any outward "goodness", it is all empty without Christ and God.
It has been a long time since I have truly contemplated the glory of God and considered more than the veiled law and attempting to fulfil it. If I am to become more like Christ then surely the only way is to rely on the transformative power of the glory of God.
Nathanael Yates is a Neuroscience Researcher from Perth, Western Australia. He is constantly inspired by his astonishingly wise and beautiful wife and his adorable daughter.
Nathanael Yates' previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/nathanael-yates.html