Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Veil

12 Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, 13 not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. 14 But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord(or reflecting the glory of the Lord), are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:12-18, ESV)

Yesterday, during my discipleship time, I was asked this question by my discipler as it relates to the above passage.

"What veil do you have over your face that stops the world from seeing the glory of God?"

At first, I answered the world. By that, I explained, I meant that often times we, as followers of Christ, don't look very different from those that don't know Jesus. We like the same movies, the same foods, the same clothes, the same music. We walk like the rest, talk like the rest, and act like the rest in almost every way. Now, this is kinda a blanket statement but if you strip out cussing, alcohol, and horrifically R rated movies then it is basically true.

I could spend a good bit of time there but I didn't. My discipler was starting to move on, but I was still back on the veil question. I have struggled with identifying with the world for a long time now and I wondered if it was a cover for a deeper answer. I kept re-reading the above passage as he was talking until I finally just said that I think the biggest veil over my face is that I simply don't believe and understand the Holy Spirit like the early followers of Jesus did.

And that became the answer I couldn't escape. I mean...I've read Francis Chan's The Forgotten God (great book) so why wasn't I more like those early followers?????

I shared that some of the guys I had been discipling had asked that if the early church could pray for people to be healed and they were healed then why didn't we, as Christians, just go to the hospitals and pray for the people inside of them? I had always responded to the guys that while I believe we could...we should wait until the Lord moves us to do so.

I still believe that my counsel is correct....but...

the Spirit showed me that in most of my Christian life, as opposed to the early disciples, I tend to ask for permission or denial from the Spirit instead of guidance. What do I mean by that? Let me explain.

When faced with a choice, I believe most of us....no let me just speak for myself...I KNOW that when faced with a choice I ask the Spirit, "Do you want me to....(do x, y, or z) or (do this or do that)?" 

This is good, on one hand, since I am seeking the counsel of the Lord and in my life He has been very faithful to answer those prayers. On the other hand, I very rarely, if at all, ask the Spirit THIS question,

"What do you want me to .... (do, think, say, etc.)?"

Can you see the difference? One question is a question choices...that I present. Now, I don't always have good clear choices but they are still choices. Take the hospital example. I am relatively comfortable asking, "God, do you want me to go to the hospital and pray for people?" The choice is there because I have laid out the parameters for all the options. 

The other question is one of total abandon. Whatever you want me to do today...I will do. "God what do you want me to do (with these few minutes, this morning, today, next month, next year, etc.)?" In that question I have no parameters. In that question, I am not in control...I am only in obedience or rebellion.

I don't like that kinda question. But then again....I am wearing a veil. 

Did the early disciples set out the parameters or did they live with abandon? History records that they were a "peculiar people." That they "set the world on fire."

So, maybe I should be less consumed with my question of how can I be different than the world and more focused on living without parameters. 

Then, I might one day look up and find that I am bold (verse 12), living in freedom (verse 17), and transformed (verse 18).

How can I do that, God? Do I trust you enough? Can you offer me something to cling to?

"Sure, Chris, how about this...

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. (2 Cor. 4:7 ESV)
 
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2 Cor. 4:7 NIV84)

...Is that good enough my child?"

Yes, Father...thank you. Please remove the veil so that others might see I am yours and yours alone.

Chris