As kids, we used to listen to our Dad share principles from Dr. Bill Gothard’s Institute for Basic Life Principles material. We still use many of them to this day.
Dr. Gothard’s devotion on shining the face of God in culture is especially relevant, given the fact we write so much about the oncoming persecution of the Church in America. We hope it encourages you to shine brightly as it has us!
Experience a Shining Face
Something unexpected happens when we suffer for doing right. We are usually not aware of it, but those around us are aware of it. A spirit of glory and of God comes upon us.
“If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified” (I Peter 4:14).
The word glory in the Greek is doxa. It means “honor” and “renown,” the opposite of shame and dishonor. It is God’s character and image that attracts attention and commands recognition. It is equivalent to splendor, brilliance, and radiance. It comprises all that God will be in His final revelation to us.
It embraces the excellence and precision of the Divine nature. God’s glory begins within a believer and is reflected in the outward appearance, which attracts attention with splendor and brightness. (See Hebrew/Greek Key Study Bible, Spiros Zodhiates, Th.D., editor, pages 1708–1709.)
The source of our light is the face of Jesus shining in us and upon us, which happens during persecution.
Notice the relationship between God’s face shining on us and the attacks from others: “Deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me. Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: save me for thy mercies’ sake” (Psalm 31:15-16). “…Our enemies laugh among themselves. Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved” (Psalm 80:6-7; see also Psalm 119:135).
Three disciples saw the brightness of Jesus’ face on the Mount of Transfiguration when it “did shine as the sun” (Matthew 17:2), and Stephen saw the brightness of Jesus’ face when the council flew upon him in a rage. (See Acts 7:54-60.)
Perhaps no man in the eighteenth century was more vilified, ridiculed, mocked, and reviled than John Wesley. He was made the laughingstock of newspaper articles, plays, sermons, and cartoons. His meetings were disrupted by mob action and false accusations. Yet, through it all, people were amazed to see the radiant countenance of this mighty man of God, and now he is one of the few people remembered from that century.
When we ask God to cause His face to shine upon a person, we are focusing on the reward that will come when that person responds in the right way to reviling. Tomorrow we will learn what that way involves. Meanwhile, let’s continue to meditate on the rich treasures of the command to rejoice!