Transformed by His Glory
It’s the destiny of every child of God to walk in the power and authority of His Kingdom. It’s your destiny to walk in the same calling and the same anointing as Jesus Himself, because the same Spirit which filled Him also fills you! From the first moment I became a follower of Jesus, there was a longing in my heart for the deeper things of God and for my Christian life to be supernatural. If you’ve also been born from above, the same longing will be in your heart, too.
Smith Wigglesworth once put it this way, “God has privileged us in Christ Jesus to live above the ordinary human plane of life. Those who want to be ordinary and live on a lower plane can do so, but as for me, I will not.” Wigglesworth contended for the supernatural, and his ministry was characterized by extraordinary signs and wonders and healing miracles.
As a child of God I’m not content to live on the ordinary human plane of life‚ and you shouldn’t be either.
Since you are God’s temple and God’s Spirit lives in you, the same Spirit of revelation and power that rested upon Old Testament prophets like Samuel, Elijah and Elisha lives in you. It’s your destiny in these last days to come into maturity in your relationship with God the Father and walk in power and authority on the earth today to set the captives free. We are made to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:24 NIV) and to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers (Romans 8:29 NIV).
TRANSFORMED FROM GLORY TO GLORY
So how does the transformation take place? The greatest realization that I have come to over the past few years is this: transformation is not automatic. I cannot sit back and expect this transformation to happen by itself. The power and authority of Jesus flow from being conscious of who I am in Christ Jesus.
If we will seek His face, God will change our hearts and flood our lives with a degree of revelation beyond anything we can imagine.
Paul puts it this way, “And we, who with unveiled faces all contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:10 [NIV footnote]). Another version says, “All of us reflect the glory of the Lord with uncovered faces, and that same glory, coming from the Lord, who is the Spirit, transforms us into His likeness in an ever greater degree of glory.”(TEV).
It is as we think about Him and worship Him and talk with Him and fill our lives with His living words that we will become like Him and find ourselves being transformed into his likeness and changing from glory and glory. The wonderful thing about this process of “beholding and becoming” is that anyone can do it! You don’t need a theology degree, you don’t have to be clever or educated. All you have to do is spend time with Jesus and stay filled with the Holy Spirit.
Peter was a fisherman by trade, and yet after spending only a few years with Jesus, Peter was able to confront the most educated theologians of his day with tremendous power and authority. Luke tells us that, “When the Jewish leaders saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and took note that these men had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13 NIV)
What produced this incredible change in a simple fisherman? Yes, Peter had lived and walked and ministered with Jesus for three years, but he recalls having one supernatural experience with Jesus which may a significant impact on His life. He writes, ‘We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to Him from the Majestic Glory saying, 'This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.' We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with Him on the sacred mountain.” (2 Peter 1:16-18 NIV).
What is Peter describing here? He is confirming and giving us an eyewitness account of one of the most dramatic events in the Bible. “Jesus took with Him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up to a high mountain by themselves. There He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light...a bright cloud enveloped them and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him.’” (Matthew 17:1-2, 5 NIV).
Peter had looked into the glorious, shining face of Jesus on the mountain. He had been enveloped by the bright cloud of God’s glory. I long for that with all my heart and every fiber of my being. But even after that experience, Peter still denied Jesus before His death on the cross. How could this happen? Peter still needed to be filled with the Holy Spirit as he was on Pentecost. As we contemplate the Lord Jesus and look at Him in prayer and worship, now that we have the Holy Spirit living within, the radiance of His face will transform us and change us as it did Peter.
ENCOUNTERING THE GLORY
One way to try to understand what happened at the Airport Church in Toronto in 1994 is that the manifest presence of God came down and filled a building and remained! His presence, His glory lifted people who entered this area out of the ordinary into the extraordinary. People did extraordinary things. Well-respected international conference speakers were so overcome by God’s presence that they were unable to begin their talks, or if they did begin them, they were unable to finish.
Senior church leaders began to prophesy and carry out prophetic enactments like the prophets of old. At one time my friend Bishop David Pytches found himself on all fours roaring like a lion.
John Arnott asked him afterwards what he thought had been happening. “The Lord was roaring over the Church of England,” he replied. The worship became so “other worldly” that we all felt lifted up into a higher realm and wanted to stay there forever. Sometimes the worship would last for over two hours but feel like five minutes! You simply did not want to leave.
Any understanding of a normal service had to be suspended as the Holy Spirit directed the meetings.
My visit to the first Catch the Fire Conference in 1994 in Toronto was one of the most dramatic and life changing experiences of my life.
This conference was held at the Regal Constellation Hotel nearby because the old church building was too small. I flew over from England for the conference by myself, and the very first time I walked into the conference room, there was a strange sense of something extraordinary. It was as if an electrical charge was in the air. (I remember joking with John Arnott later that he should have put a ‘warning’ sign on the main doors!)
Again and again during the worship I would find myself being completely overwhelmed and bursting into tears which, of course, being English, I would try to conceal. But after awhile as so many other people were crying, too, I gave up and let the tears flow freely down my face. During the evening ministry times, it got worse, and I found myself on the carpet not just crying but sobbing and sobbing for hours on end. The strange thing was that if you had asked me why I was crying I couldn’t have told you. I didn’t know. It was as if my mind was somewhere else looking down on my body and saying, “Rupert, what are you doing? “
At the end of the conference after Carol Arnott had prayed for me, I began to have a sense that the Lord had been gently restoring my soul from old childhood hurts such as when my father had left home when I was five and when I had been sent to a boarding school at seven.
I will never forget those extraordinary times in Toronto.
It seemed as if Heaven was touching earth, and as we experienced His glory many people were deeply and profoundly changed forever. It was a foretaste of Heaven. It was as if the words of an old song had come to pass before me, ‘Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.’ (Helen Lemmel, 1922)
This was the cry of David, the great warrior king and worship musician of Israel; and I believe it has been the cry of all the great men and women in the Bible and throughout the Church age. If we spend time with Jesus in prayer and worship looking full in His wonderful face, we too will be transformed into His likeness, and we will become the manifest sons and daughters of God who will once again, as in the New Testament days, rise up and shake the nations of the earth as we raise the dead, heal the sick, and set the captives free.
The times are urgent. In the midst of the darkness which is growing all around us, the Church is coming into her finest hour. It has always been so. The greatest moves of God have come at the darkest times, and it will be so again. Now is the time to make Moses’ prayer our prayer and the cry of our hearts. Now is the time to follow Peter’s example and look full into Jesus’ wonderful face.
Find somewhere right now where you can be alone with God and pray this prayer with me:
“Father, I seek You now. I’m desperate for You. I reach out to You with everything I am. My soul thirsts for You. My heart cries out to You. Send down your Presence and show me your Glory. Open my eyes to see Jesus, to look full into His wonderful face, to gaze upon His beauty and His majesty, and change me, transform me to become like Him, that I, too, may walk with power and authority on the earth in these last days to bring Light into darkness and to set the captives free. And to You be all the glory, because of your great love and faithfulness. Amen.”