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Walk This Way

Walk This Way – Can people see the change in you? (Exodus 34:29-30)

Today’s Reading: Exodus 32-36

Today’s Reflection: Exodus 34:29-30

29) When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. 30) Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.

Spending time with God changes you in ways other people can see.

The Bible says that after Adam and Eve’s mistake in Eden we are now born in sin and shaped in iniquity (Psalm 51:5).  There is an internal conflict in man between that sinful nature and what God originally created us to be—reflections of His glory.  But by spending time with God, reading His word, learning to hear His voice and follow His ways, we receive power to overcome sin and become more and more the image of God we were meant to be.  The children of Israel saw a physical manifestation of this in the glowing face of Moses after he had spent time in the presence of God.

1) If you’re spending time with God, you cannot come away from the experience unchanged.  A flower under the rays of the sun doesn’t ‘decide’ to draw nourishment from the light.  It is its nature through photosynthesis to get energy from the sun.  Likewise it is our nature to gain life, power and inspiration from our creator.  Whenever we are in God’s presence we cannot come away from the experience the same as we were before.

2) If you’re not becoming more like God you’re not spending time with God.  The example of Moses shows us that the change of becoming more like God is a visible change.  We may not see faces aglow with the glory of the Lord today, but the real transformation God brings about is an internal one.  If we are receiving God’s love it should be apparent in our actions—actions others can clearly see.

John 13:34-35 — 34) A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35) By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

If you’re faithfully attending church, but not seeing change of this sort, you have to face the challenging truth that going to church and spending time with God are not necessarily one and the same.

3) Spending time with God won’t happen by accident.  When God told Moses to bring Israel before Him, the people had to consecrate themselves first.  They had to prepare to come before God.  They had to put away idolatry and sinful behaviour.  There was deliberate intent and commitment involved in coming into God’s presence.

Our lives are filled with distractions, temptations, and cultural mores that constantly challenge God’s truths.  We cannot spend a week surrounded by behaviours that displease God, then expect an hour in church to bring about a change in us.  We have to be intentional and committed to spending time in God’s presence.  If you will make time for prayer, praise, bible study, and Christian community then change will happen.

Note, there is a danger of this kind of deliberate behaviour becoming a series of empty and ultimately meaningless rituals.  It is important to remember that the point is building a relationship with God.  If the activities you’re engaging in are not giving you more knowledge and understanding of God and who you are because of Him, if they are not allowing you to learn to recognize His voice speaking into your life, you may be too focused on the activity or event and not focused enough on God Himself.

4) Spending time with God changes your nature.  The Word says Moses didn’t even know his face was shining.  By that point he was so used to spending time in God’s presence the change in him was no longer a change, it was now his nature to be more like God.

When you begin spending time in God’s presence and begin to change—the way you think, speak, act—it feels strange because God’s way is so different from the ways of man that you may have been accustomed to.  But over time God’s way seems less and less strange and just becomes your nature.  This is God’s hope and plan for you, that His way becomes your natural way of being.

2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

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Discussion

4 thoughts on “Walk This Way – Can people see the change in you? (Exodus 34:29-30)

  1. Hey Ricardo,

    Now you know i’m one of your biggest fans…lol. However there was something here that didn’t sit so well with me, so maybe you can explain it a bit more. The following quote pretty much sums it up:

    “If you will make time for prayer, praise, bible study, and Christian community then change will happen.”

    That actually sounds pretty correct because it’s what everyone says about this topic. However, I am always a bit uncomfortable when someone presents a formula for Christian growth like this.

    There are a lot of people who do try to pray, read the word and go to church who just are not experiencing the growth they desire.

    My view is that trusting God and drawing close to Him with a sincere heart is what matters most. This trust and seeking God then usually leads one to read the bible, pray etc. However, i don’t think doing those actions brings about the change. The difference is outside-in vs. inside-out transformation.

    But anyway, you can let me know your thoughts and maybe clarify some misunderstandings.

    Posted by Roger Turnquest | May 1, 2011, 7:06 pm
    • Hey Roger,

      As you probably know, I’m one of your biggest fans too, so I take all of your comments seriously. And I agree that a ‘formula’ approach to Christianity isn’t a good idea. What I had attempted to do (and perhaps failed to do) was establish in the first two points that the focus here was on spending time in God’s presence in the context of a relationship. With that being the intent, the ‘formula’ actually isn’t a formula, but just the methods used to connect with God. I even tried to make this clear by making the point that going to church alone won’t bring someone into God’s presence.

      I also want to make the point that what can be formulaic with the wrong heart before God can be quite effective with the right heart. Just like a man giving his wife flowers can be the most cynical act if done without genuine thought or care, or can be the most loving gesture if given with a desire to continue building a loving and respectful marriage relationship. So clearly there are things that spouses must do to maintain their relationships, but they must be done with the right intentions to truly be effective.

      Likewise, prayer, praise, bible study, Christian community (note I didn’t say church, that was deliberate) are the pillars of building a relationship with God. Yes they must be done with genuine intent to know and grow with God in order to be effective, but they must be done. No one can draw close to God without communication with Him (prayer), recognition of who He is and a willingness to give Him the credit and honour He is due (praise), understanding His instruction and His plan for this world and for each of us (study of His Word), and building positive relationships with other believers and working with others in His service (Christian community).

      I hope that clarifies. I’m still working on packing lots of ideas in smaller messages so I can get these out everyday, so please continue to give feedback if you see things that are unclear. I’m sure others have questions too and this conversation is edifying to many.

      Posted by Ricardo Alleyne | May 1, 2011, 10:16 pm
  2. Hey Ricardo,

    well, I actually agree with about 99% of what you said. it’s just point number three that i think we need to be careful about.

    Even the quote before the one i quoted seems to suggest something very dangerous:

    “We have to be intentional and committed to spending time in God’s presence.”

    In my view, the north American culture is one that can be very rigid at times and has a very set view of how results are obtained. Normally, in order to achieve your goals, you have to be-as you said-‘intentional and committed’. And really ‘put in the effort’

    So taken as a whole, the entire last 2 sentences of point # 3 seems to portray this idea: you get results by putting in the effort.You can’t be lazy about it, you got to turn off the tv and get off the internet and ‘get focused on God’. That’s a bit of an exaggeration but that idea does come across to some extent.

    Although it is true that spending time with God in prayer and reading the word and fellowship is very important, my approach is different.

    As i mentioned, i believe in an ‘inside out’ approach. One where you orient your inner being toward the things of God. You grow closer to Him with a sincere heart which leads you to want to do the things of God.

    In this approach, your behaviour comes to reflect 100% the inner condition of your heart and you do not try to grow through making outward commitments. If you need to make yourself more disciplined to do the things of God, then maybe your heart really isn’t particularly oriented towards God in the first place.

    So you don’t read the word to grow but you read the word because you are growing-because God is working in your heart to make you want to do things that are pleasing to Him. The behaviour reflects the internal condition. we don’t try to change the internal condition by doing things.

    In the end, you need to be reading the Bible etc. But i don’t think discipline and being intentional and committed is the answer. If God is working in your heart to desire more of Him, how could you stay away from these things?

    But in general, i think this is a really good word. And i do agree with it. It’s just that there are some subtle implications in point 3 that don’t fit with my inside-out ideologies..lol.

    Posted by Roger Turnquest | May 2, 2011, 5:56 pm
  3. HELLO MY NAME IS BROTHER MICHAEL COLE AN THERE IS ONE THING I LEARNED IN MY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD IS STUDYING THE WORD AN NOT STOPING THERE BUT BEING A DOER OF THE WORD I HAVE FOUND THAT MANY TIME WE COME OUT THE STARTING GATE GOOD BUT BEGIN TO LOSE THAT ZEAL SOME WHERE ALONG THE WAY THIS IS NOT A GRADUATION BUT A CONTINUTION YOUR MINE HAS TO BE MADE UP THAT IM GOING ALL THE WAY BECAUSE WE KNOW THAT HAFE HEARTEDNESS AVAILITH NOTHING AN AS YOU SAY THIS IS A INSIDE JOB BECAUSE FOR SO LONG WE LEARNED HOW TO DRESS UP THE OUT SIDE SO THATS WHAT WE DO BUT NOT WITH YOUR WALK WITH GOD IT TAKES MORE AND BELIVE ME THE MORE IS SO WORTH THE TIME YOU PUT IN TO IT AN THAT SAME LIGHT THAT GOD PUT IN MOSES I BELIVE WE CAN RECIVE THAT LIGHT UNLESS HE HAS CHANGED I KNOW HIM TO BE THE SAME TODAY AS HE WAS BACK THEN IF YOU CAN TRUST, BELIVE AN OBEY JUST SOME WORDS FOR THOUGHT IFELT LEAD TO SHEAR.MAY THE PEACE OF GOD BE APONE YOU.

    Posted by BROTHER MICHAEL COLE | January 29, 2013, 12:28 pm

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