As He was praying, the fashion of His countenance was altered, and His raiment became white and dazzling. – Luk_9:29
And if we have communion with God as deep and real as Jesus Christ had, the fashion of our countenances will be altered too. I do not mean, of course, that any physical change will occur, though I wonder if there are any of us that cannot remember some one who, at some time or other of deep emotion, and of high communion with God, showed a face shining like Stephen’s when the heavens were opened _: or like Moses when he came down from the mount! I wonder if there are any of us that have not in our hearts the remembrances of, perhaps, very homely features of some poor old man or woman, glorified and transfigured by the love of Christ and faith in God! Ah! that miracle is being done all around us every day. And there are people of whom it is true that “A beauty born of” more than “murmuring sound” has passed into their faces, just as there are, on the other hand, men and women who bear written on their foreheads that they belong to the devil, and have the marks of their evil passions, their bad tempers, their lusts, their cunning, stamped on their faces so that nobody can mistake them. We are all physiognomists, and we generally make a pretty correct estimate of a man’s character by looking at him.
If we are holding on by God, and if our days are passed in any real sense in communion with Him, whether upon the mountain-top as Christ and the three were, or down in the valley trying to cure demoniacs, as was much more permanently the disciples’ place and duty; if we are, in any real sense, in touch with God, we cannot but be made fair, noble, refined, manifestly purified, and having an indwelling and out-saying light in and from us. If there is nothing of the sort in our appearance, it is because there is very little of the sort resident within us. For communion with God always tells upon a life, and lifts a man above cares, and enables him to put his heel upon his faults, and to master his devilries; and refines him by the presence of elevated and heaven-directed thoughts and aspirations. Does your religion do anything of that sort for you, brother? If it does not, you had better see whether it is real or not.
Of all the things that are given, in God’s great mercy, to Christian people, to change their characters and natures for the better, the most powerful is the transforming power of communion with God. It is to that, if you come to look into it, that the New Testament entrusts the almost whole assimilation of men’s characters to the image of Christ. Of course, I know that the Divine Spirit comes to sanctify and to cleanse, but here is the law of our being transformed: ” We all, with unveiled face, reflecting, as a mirror does, the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image.” Look at Him and you will be like Him. You can tell by the flush that comes over a man’s face whether he has it turned full to the sunlight or not. And we ought to be able to tell by the very cut of a man, certainly by the cast of his life and character, whether he knows what it is to go up to the mountain-top, and within the cloud, to walk in the fire, and catch its radiance and its warmth.
Of all the things that are given, in God’s great mercy, to Christian people, to change their characters and natures for the better, the most powerful is the transforming power of communion with God. What truth!