Wherever you are right now, take a minute and go get pencil and paper and try, as best you are able, to draw a hippo.  Seriously.  I know that half of you are not moving as you read this – go get a pencil and try to draw a hippo!

Some time ago, one of my children asked me to draw them a hippo – with its mouth open no less – and I noticed something odd.  Even though I know what a hippo looks like, and would recognize a hippo in a line up of zoo creatures with 100% accuracy, and know tons of cool trivia about hippos, I couldn’t draw one to save my life!   What I needed in order to draw a hippo with its mouth open was a picture to copy.  Then, with a visible and constant reminder of the proportions of jaws to body, legs to length, where exactly the eyes and ears are, etc…  I drew a respectable hippo for my son – mouth open and all.  Take a look at your hippo.  How did it turn out?

Drawing hippos is not unlike the Christian life.  This past week I have been reading a biography of Henry Morehouse, one of the great nineteenth century English evangelistic preachers.  His biographer summaries his life as being one in which 2 Corinthians 3:18 was practically illustrated:

“But we all with open face beholding the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

And he goes on to add the crucial note: “‘Beholding’ is not a single act, but a life-long work.”  It is not that we once saw the glory of our Savior and now strive to see his glorious image created in us.  It is that we are committed to daily seeing the glory of Jesus and are by his Spirit then transformed from glory to glory – growing in the image of God.

Your modern translation of this verse from 2 Corinthians might be different.  It might read that “we, with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory…”  But it really makes no difference.  To reflect an image a mirror must first face it.  The idea expressly underscores the posture of contemplation.  As you try to become like Jesus – humbly by grace striving to draw his image into your life more and more – are you getting the proportions right?  Are you remembering how humility connects to patience; how kindness leads to forgiveness, how joy and peace fit right beside one another?  Then look at the picture so that you can reflect it!  Theoretical knowledge, apologetical fervor, or memories of past study are no substitute for daily communion with your Lord.  Get into the habit and the posture of “beholding.”

May we spend time daily in reflecting on the scriptures and the clear picture of Jesus and his great saving work that springs from the sacred page.  May we depend upon the Holy Spirit to help us to see Jesus and by his grace become like him.  May people see in us living pictures of our Savior and Lord.

Your Pastor,
Bob Bjerkaas

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