As a middle school teacher, I have an ‘in’ for knowing what’s currently trending whether it’s the Visco girls and HydroFlasks of a few years ago or the devious licks of the past year. Because of TikTok and Instagram, these trends spread like wildfire among my students, and they tend to burn out just as quickly. Quick-moving trends aren’t new either. I remember silly bands and Hollister jackets from my middle school days almost 15 years ago. The common theme with these fads and trends is that they spread like crazy and then are soon forgotten. Facebook was just beginning to grow in popularity when I was younger, so it may seem strange that such fads existed. But, as everyone can tell you, this is just part of humanity and culture. We tend to jump on things that are popular and want to be a part of them. Because of this, we sacrifice time and money accumulating junk and doing some pretty stupid stuff just so that we feel like we are part of the crowd.
In today’s reading, Paul is addressing the Corinthians and pointing out reasons why the Corinthians should trust his apostleship (or authority about the gospel). He is encouraging the Corinthians to rely on the Spirit to be transformed into the image of Christ. Paul knows the power of this transforming Spirit from his own experience and so speaks with boldness to the Corinthians (v.12). As he describes the difference between the law and the new covenant of Christ, he points to how Moses communicated with God compared to how we are able to through Christ. When Moses talked with God in the wilderness, his face would shine (Ex. 34:35). The Israelites were so terrified of this that they begged Moses to wear a veil when he returned. With the new covenant, the veil was torn (Matt. 27:51), and through Christ, we can see the glory of God.
In verses 17-18, Paul says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” A poet, William Blake, said, “We become what we behold.” When I think of the trends and fads I see in culture, I think of people who are beholding (or seeing) so many things around them that they feel like they need to buy or participate in. Watching the culture around them makes them want to become more like the culture around them. Pretty soon, they are stealing bathroom vanities because they saw it on TikTok (a true story that happened at my school). We don’t want to become more like the world, but if all we are beholding comes from the world, what can we expect? We need to spend more time beholding God by spending time in prayer and his word. Only then can we be ‘transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.’
~ Cayce Fletcher
Questions for Application:
- What is a trend or fad that you see in culture? Is it something you find beneficial to society or detrimental to society?
- What do you behold daily? How is what you are beholding affecting the way that you live?
- What does it mean to be ‘transformed into the same image [of Christ] from one degree of glory to another’? What would a person who was in the image of Christ look like?