Saints are not born, they are made. In Exodus 34, Moses came down from the mountain and his face shown with the glory of God. He had been on Mt. Sinai fellowshipping with and listening to God for 40 days and 40 nights. Initially, Moses didn’t know that his face was glowing. It wasn’t until others told him that he realized it.
Isn’t it true that sometimes we can see the life of a person on his or her face? If a person is worried or upset, happy or sad, it shows on their face and in their mannerisms. Moses spent a lot of time with God in prayer, in speaking with him, in worshiping him. And whenever he spent 40 days and nights with God—a long time with God—it showed on his face. But, it also showed in his life. In Numbers 12:3, it says that Moses was the most humble man on the earth. Full of humility. The dictionary says that being humble means that we have a modest opinion or estimate of our own importance or rank. The opposite of humility is pride. Even though Moses was the leader of a nation, he was humble. Yet, Moses wasn’t always that way, before he spent 80 years of his life in the desert wilderness, he killed an Egyptian when he saw the Egyptian mistreating a Hebrew slave. When he knew that word of his murderous act got out, he fled into the desert, knowing that if he were to stick around in Egypt that Pharaoh would have him killed.
God used Moses 40 years in the desert to humble him and to show Moses who he was. Then he sent Moses back to Egypt to deliver the Hebrews. Guess where God sent Moses and the Hebrews? Back to the desert—and he kept them their forty years after the Israelites sinned against him. My point is that Moses didn’t start out humble, didn’t start out a saint. He became a saint after spending a lot of time with God in the wilderness (80 years total) and through much suffering.
If we commune with God, if we spend time with God, people around us are going to know it. Spending time with God, seeing God, puts right our inside worlds, our minds and hearts (Eugene Peterson paraphrase of Matthew 5:8 in the Message). When our inside worlds, our minds and hearts are put right, the glory of God, the light of Christ, bursts forth from our pores. Beauty and goodness and the gifts of the spirit shine forth, patience and kindness too, not rudeness and irritability and a sour disposition, not envy and anger and worry.
Oh, I am not saying that we won’t sin or that we won’t be angry and envious or worried at times—we are still quite imperfect even on our best days. But what I am saying is that such ungodly things will not characterize us.
Just to be clear. We need to spend time with God and love him. It’s possible for two people to spend time in the same house and not really connect, not love each other. In fact, it is possible to be in the same house and abuse each other. Similarly, it is possible to spend time around God and betray him, like Judas did. We can be in church every week and hear God speak through the word, through music, through communion, in prayer, and in fellowship and still not really connect to God. We can spend years around God and not connect with him. I have a suspicion that hell will be full of people who hung around God, sat in churches and Sunday school classes year after year, full of people who knew their Bibles inside and out and didn’t connect with him, didn’t obey him, even preachers. If we are really communing with God, connecting with him, we will obey him. We’ll take to heart what he says and do it. In John 14:23-24 Jesus says, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.” If we love him, commune with him, demonstrate that love through obedience, as I said, people can’t help but notice. Like Moses, our lives and faces will shine, and we won’t even know it. Communion with God transforms us.
It is sad to say and quite evident that many of us in the church don’t commune with God. Even unbelievers shake their heads and wonder. Even unbelievers know that spending time with Jesus is supposed to make us different. When we are no different than they are, when they don’t see the glory of God radiating from us, they conclude that this whole God thing, this Jesus thing, is a sham. Let us be careful then, let us commune with God and be transformed.
One more thing.
Communion with God and loving obedience to God not only transform us, but allow us to see his glory in this life. In Luke 9, we see Peter, James, and John, climbing a mountain with Jesus to pray. As Jesus was praying, the glory of God, transformed him so that he dazzled. Moses and Elijah appeared with him in conversation. The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible puts verse 32, “Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him.”
Loving and obeying God, communing with him, will allow us to see his glory and wonder in this life. We will see his fingerprints and work everywhere even in the mundane ordinary days of our lives. Communing with God opens our eyes and keeps us awake so that we can see.
And as we commune with him, as we are awake and see his glory, that communion and glory will transform us into saints.