Yesterday we were looking at how our heartfelt thanksgiving can bring us into God’s presence, or ‘face to face’ with our Lord. This whole year as we have sought to thank God is so many different ways, in so many different situations, (the good the bad and the ugly!!) for the many, many different ways in which He blesses us, and reveals who He is to us. Through this time, as we have chosen to offer up our thanks (at times as a sacrifice), we have been deepening our friendship with Him. Thanksgiving brings us this heart to heart connection with Him – and it also changes us! And it is this mystery that we are going to consider today.
Paul tells us that we are transformed into His likeness as ‘we all with open face behold as in a mirror the glory of the Lord.’ He says we are then ‘changed into the same image from glory to glory….’ “Corinthians 3:18 AV. The apostle John also tells us, ‘Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.’ 1 John 3:2. There is definitely something about ‘seeing Jesus’, seeing our wonderful Messiah, that causes us to become like Him. Allelujah!!
Now as I ponder this it makes perfect sense for, even in our natural world, when someone gives us something good, it doesn’t just evoke gratitude in our hearts, it alters our disposition towards that person. We become aware of them in a new way, we ‘see’ them in a new light. When someone gives me a gift and I express my appreciation for it, it disarms me, I let down some of my reserve and welcome them a little deeper into my life.
Over the past year, as we have sought to approach the Lord with gratitude at every turn, our appreciation for Him, His love, His sacrifice for us, His gifts to us (His incredible generosity), His commitment to do us good at all times and in all circumstances, rises meteorically. The staggering truth that the God of all creation is my loving Heavenly Father, and calls me His beloved daughter, becomes more and more real.
Expressing my gratitude to Him as I notice, and become more aware of, His love and interventions in my life, helps to open me up to see Him more fully in His glory. I see His kindness, goodness, love, forgiveness, faithfulness, patience and strength, spread out before me like the colours of a vivid rainbow. And as I behold His beauty, ‘the sweet attractiveness and the delightful loveliness of the Lord’ Psalm 27:4 AMP, little by little, because I am liking and enjoying what I see, I start to behave more and more like He does when I am with other people.
Even though, ‘Now we see a poor reflection as in a mirror; then shall we see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall now, even as I am fully known,’ 1 Corinthians 13:12, the process of change happens as I ‘look at Jesus’. So the more I thank Him, the more I have a lifestyle of gratitude, the closer I get to the Lord. That is to say, He is always very close to me in my world, but thanksgiving let’s me into His world, and I see Jesus enthroned, the Father’s love and the Holy Spirit’s constant working in my life in richer colour than before. The more I see Him the more I am changed to be like Him, and the more I reflect who He is into the world.
His intention for us is that we should ‘shine’. He said ‘I am the light of the world’ and also that we are ‘the light of the world’. He told us to let that light shine before men. Matthew 5:14-16. So, as you continue to develop a life of thanksgiving, I am finishing today’s blog with those wonderful words that Isaiah spoke to God’s people around two and a half thousand years ago, ‘Arise shine for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See darkness covers the earth and thick darkness the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and His glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light and kings to the brightness of your dawn.’ Isaiah 60:1-3.
Keep growing your heart of ‘thanksgiving’, keep beholding Him, and keep shining for Him.