Will You Reflect God’s Glory?
“We . . . reflect like mirrors the glory of Jehovah.”—2 CORINTHIANS 3:18.
1. What did Moses behold, and what happened afterward?
IT WAS one of the most awe-inspiring visions any man had ever experienced. Alone, high up on Mount Sinai, Moses was granted an unusual request. He was allowed to see what no human had ever seen—the glory of Jehovah. Of course, Moses did not see Jehovah directly. So splendid is the appearance of God that no man may behold him and yet live. Instead, Jehovah put his “palm” over Moses as a protective screen until He had passed by, evidently using an angelic representative. Then Jehovah allowed Moses to see the afterglow of this divine manifestation of glory. Jehovah also spoke with Moses through an angel. The Bible describes what happened afterward: “Now it came about when Moses came down from Mount Sinai . . . that the skin of his face emitted rays because of his having spoken with [Jehovah].”—Exodus 33:18–34:7, 29.
2. What did the apostle Paul write about the glory that Christians reflect?
2 Imagine yourself on that mountain with Moses. How thrilling it would be to behold the dazzling splendor of the Almighty and to listen to his words! What a privilege it would be to walk down Mount Sinai alongside Moses, the mediator of the Law covenant! Did you know, though, that in some ways true Christians reflect God’s glory in a way that surpasses even the way Moses reflected it? That thought-provoking fact is found in a letter written by the apostle Paul. He wrote that anointed Christians “reflect like mirrors the glory of Jehovah.” (2 Corinthians 3:7, 8, 18) In a sense, Christians with an earthly hope also reflect God’s glory.
How Christians Reflect God’s Glory
3. How have we come to know Jehovah in ways that Moses could not?
3 How could we possibly reflect God’s glory? We have not beheld or heard Jehovah in the way that Moses did. We have, however, come to know Jehovah in ways that Moses could not. Jesus did not appear as the Messiah until nearly 1,500 years after Moses died. Consequently, Moses could not have known how the Law would be fulfilled in Jesus, who died to redeem humans from the terrible oppression of sin and death. (Romans 5:20, 21; Galatians 3:19) Moreover, Moses could perceive only in a limited way the magnificence of Jehovah’s purpose, centered on the Messianic Kingdom and the earthly Paradise it will bring. We thus perceive Jehovah’s glory, not with our literal eyes, but with eyes of faith based on Bible teachings. Furthermore, we have heard Jehovah’s voice, not by means of an angel, but through the Bible, particularly the Gospels, which so beautifully describe the teachings and the ministry of Jesus.
4. (a) How do anointed Christians reflect God’s glory? (b) In what ways can those who have the earthly hope reflect God’s glory?
4 Though Christians do not reflect God’s glory by means of rays that beam from their faces, their faces fairly beam as they tell others about Jehovah’s glorious personality and purposes. Concerning our day, the prophet Isaiah foretold that God’s people would “for certain tell about [Jehovah’s] glory among the nations.” (Isaiah 66:19) Furthermore, at 2 Corinthians 4:1, 2, we read: “Since we have this ministry . . . , we have renounced the underhanded things of which to be ashamed, not walking with cunning, neither adulterating the word of God, but by making the truth manifest recommending ourselves to every human conscience in the sight of God.” Paul was referring in particular to anointed Christians, who are “ministers of a new covenant.” (2 Corinthians 3:6) But their ministry has had an effect on countless numbers who have gained the hope of everlasting life on earth. The ministry of both groups involves reflecting the glory of Jehovah not only in what they teach but also in how they live. It is our responsibility and our privilege to mirror the glory of the Most High God!
5. Of what does our spiritual prosperity give evidence?
5 Today, the glorious good news of God’s Kingdom is being preached in all the inhabited earth, as Jesus foretold. (Matthew 24:14) Individuals of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues have enthusiastically responded to the good news and have transformed their lives in order to do the will of God. (Romans 12:2; Revelation 7:9) Like the early Christians, they cannot stop speaking about the things they have seen and heard. (Acts 4:20) Over six million people, more than at any other time in human history, are reflecting God’s glory today. Are you among them? The spiritual prosperity of God’s people gives convincing evidence of Jehovah’s blessing and protection. That Jehovah’s spirit is upon us is all the more evident in view of the powerful forces arrayed against us. Let us now see why that is so.
God’s People Will Not Be Silenced
6. Why are faith and courage required in order to take a stand for Jehovah?
6 Suppose you were called to testify in court against a ruthless criminal. You know that the criminal has a powerful organization and will use every means to prevent you from exposing him. For you to bear witness against such a criminal would require courage as well as confidence that the authorities would protect you from him. We are in a similar situation. In bearing witness to Jehovah and his purposes, we testify against Satan the Devil, exposing him as a manslayer and a liar who is misleading the entire inhabited earth. (John 8:44; Revelation 12:9) To take your stand for Jehovah and against the Devil requires both faith and courage.
7. How influential is Satan, and what does he try to do?
7 Jehovah is, of course, the Supreme One. His power is infinitely superior to that of Satan. We may be sure that Jehovah is not only able but also eager to protect us as we serve him loyally. (2 Chronicles 16:9) Nevertheless, Satan is ruler of both the demons and the world of mankind alienated from God. (Matthew 12:24, 26; John 14:30) Confined to the vicinity of the earth and filled with “great anger,” Satan bitterly opposes Jehovah’s servants and uses the world under his control to try to shut the mouths of all who preach the good news. (Revelation 12:7-9, 12, 17) How does he do this? In at least three ways.
8, 9. How does Satan use misguided love, and why should we choose our associates carefully?
8 One way in which Satan tries to distract us is through the cares of life. People in these last days are lovers of money, lovers of themselves, and lovers of pleasures. They are not lovers of God. (2 Timothy 3:1-4) Preoccupied with the everyday affairs of life, most people ‘take no note’ of the good news we bring to them. They are simply not interested in learning Bible truth. (Matthew 24:37-39) Such an attitude can be contagious, lulling us into a state of spiritual lethargy. If we allow ourselves to cultivate love for material things and the pleasures of life, our love of God will grow cold.—Matthew 24:12.
9 For this reason, Christians carefully choose those with whom they associate. “He that is walking with wise persons will become wise,” wrote King Solomon, “but he that is having dealings with the stupid ones will fare badly.” (Proverbs 13:20) May we ‘walk’ with those who reflect God’s glory. How pleasant it is to do so! As we gather together with our spiritual brothers and sisters at our meetings and at other times, we find encouragement in their love, their faith, their joy, and their wisdom. Such wholesome association strengthens our determination to persevere in our ministry.
10. In what ways has Satan used ridicule against those who reflect God’s glory?
10 A second way that Satan tries to stop all Christians from reflecting God’s glory is by ridicule. This tactic should come as no surprise. During his ministry on earth, Jesus Christ was ridiculed—laughed at, sneered at, made fun of, treated insolently, and even spit upon. (Mark 5:40; Luke 16:14; 18:32) Early Christians were also objects of mockery. (Acts 2:13; 17:32) Modern-day servants of Jehovah face similar abuse. According to the apostle Peter, they would, in effect, be labeled “false prophets.” “In the last days,” foretold Peter, “there will come ridiculers with their ridicule, proceeding according to their own desires and saying: ‘Where is this promised presence of his? Why, . . . all things are continuing exactly as from creation’s beginning.’” (2 Peter 3:3, 4) God’s people are ridiculed as being out of touch with reality. The Bible’s moral standards are viewed as old-fashioned. To many, the message that we preach is foolishness. (1 Corinthians 1:18, 19) As Christians, we may face ridicule at school, at work, and at times even in the family circle. Undeterred, we continue to reflect God’s glory through our preaching, knowing as did Jesus that God’s Word is truth.—John 17:17.
11. How has Satan used persecution to try to silence Christians?
11 A third tactic that the Devil uses in an attempt to silence us is opposition or persecution. Jesus said to his followers: “People will deliver you up to tribulation and will kill you, and you will be objects of hatred by all the nations on account of my name.” (Matthew 24:9) Indeed, as Jehovah’s Witnesses, we have faced vicious persecution in many parts of the earth. We are aware that Jehovah long ago foretold that hatred, or enmity, would develop between those who serve God and those who serve Satan the Devil. (Genesis 3:15) We also know that by maintaining integrity under trial, we testify to the rightfulness of Jehovah’s universal sovereignty. Knowing this can make us strong even under the most extreme circumstances. No persecution will ever permanently silence us if we remain determined to reflect the glory of God.
12. Why should we rejoice as we remain faithful in the face of Satan’s opposition?
12 Do you resist the allure of the world and prove faithful despite ridicule and opposition? Then you have reason to rejoice. Jesus assured those who would follow him: “Happy are you when people reproach you and persecute you and lyingly say every sort of wicked thing against you for my sake. Rejoice and leap for joy, since your reward is great in the heavens; for in that way they persecuted the prophets prior to you.” (Matthew 5:11, 12) Your endurance gives evidence that Jehovah’s powerful holy spirit is upon you, empowering you to reflect his glory.—2 Corinthians 12:9.
Endurance Comes From Jehovah
13. What is a key reason why we endure in our Christian ministry?
13 A key reason why we endure in the ministry is that we love Jehovah and delight to reflect his glory. Humans tend to imitate those whom they love and respect, and no one is more worthy of imitation than Jehovah God. Because of his own great love, he sent his Son to the earth to bear witness to the truth and to redeem obedient mankind. (John 3:16; 18:37) Like God, we desire that people of all sorts attain to repentance and salvation; that is why we preach to them. (2 Peter 3:9) This desire, along with our determination to imitate God, moves us to persevere in reflecting his glory through our ministry.
14. How does Jehovah strengthen us to endure in our ministry?
14 Ultimately, though, our strength to endure in the Christian ministry comes from Jehovah. He sustains and fortifies us by means of his spirit, his organization, and his Word, the Bible. Jehovah “supplies endurance” to those who are willing to reflect his glory. He answers our prayers and gives us the wisdom to deal with trials. (Romans 15:5; James 1:5) What is more, Jehovah does not allow us to be subjected to any trial that is impossible to bear. If we trust in Jehovah, he will make the way out so that we can continue to reflect his glory.—1 Corinthians 10:13.
15. What helps us to endure?
15 Endurance in our ministry gives evidence that God’s spirit is upon us. To illustrate: Suppose someone asked you to distribute a certain type of bread from door to door, free of charge. You are instructed to do this at your own expense and on your own time. Further, you soon learn that only a very few people actually want your bread; some will even oppose your efforts to distribute it. Do you think you would continue working at that task month after month, year after year? Probably not. Yet, you may have exerted yourself in declaring the good news on your own time and at your own expense for years, even decades. Why? Is it not because you love Jehovah and through his spirit he has blessed your efforts by helping you to endure? By all means!
A Work to Be Remembered
16. Endurance in our ministry means what for us and for those who listen to us?
16 The ministry of the new covenant is a gift beyond compare. (2 Corinthians 4:7) Similarly, the Christian ministry carried on by the other sheep around the globe is a treasure. As you continue to endure in your ministry, you can, as Paul wrote to Timothy, “save both yourself and those who listen to you.” (1 Timothy 4:16) Think of what that means. The good news that you preach offers to others the opportunity to live forever. You can forge a strong bond of friendship with those whom you help spiritually. Imagine what a joy it will be to live eternally in Paradise with those whom you have helped to learn about God! Surely they will never forget your efforts to help them. What a cause for satisfaction!
17. Why is ours a unique period in human history?
17 You live in a unique period in human history. Never again will the good news be preached amid a world alienated from God. Noah lived in such a world, and he saw it pass away. How he must have rejoiced to know that he faithfully carried out God’s will in building an ark, which led to the preservation of him and his family! (Hebrews 11:7) You too can have such joy. Think of how you will feel in the new world as you look back on your activity during these last days, knowing that you did what you could to promote Kingdom interests.
18. What assurance and encouragement does Jehovah give his servants?
18 Let us keep on, then, reflecting God’s glory. Our doing so will be something that we will remember forever. Jehovah remembers our works too. The Bible provides this encouragement: “God is not unrighteous so as to forget your work and the love you showed for his name, in that you have ministered to the holy ones and continue ministering. But we desire each one of you to show the same industriousness so as to have the full assurance of the hope down to the end, in order that you may not become sluggish, but be imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”—Hebrews 6:10-12.
Can You Explain?
• How do Christians reflect the glory of God?
• What are some tactics that Satan uses in his attempt to silence God’s people?
• What evidence is there that God’s spirit is upon us?
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Moses’ face reflected glory
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We reflect the glory of God in our ministry