This morning, I was reading in Exodus 34. Moses has spent 40 days and nights on Mount Sinai with the Lord. During this time, Moses begged God to let him see His glory. God could only allow Moses to see His back, because God said "no man can see Me and live (Exodus 33:20). God also entrusted Moses with the Ten Commandments. So 40 days later, Moses comes back down the mountain, Aaron and the other Israelite leaders were afraid to come near him. Moses had to have been confused.
Exodus 34:29 says that Moses didn't know that his skin of his face was shining because of Him speaking with the Lord. Yes, you read that right. His skin was shining! This served as proof to the Israelites that Moses' words came straight from the One true God.
There are a few things I learned from Moses in this passage so God's love will shine through me:
1) I have to spend time with the Lord daily -- without distraction.
In Exodus 34:2, God says to Moses, "Be ready by the morning..." Now, I'm not going to say this will work for everyone, but I know that for me, this is the only time I can give God my undivided attention. Before I even look at my email, begin to think about work, or even the responsibilities around my home, I know that the morning is the best time I can spend with God without interruption. If I wait until later in the day, it seems my cell phone is ringing, an appointment gets shifted, or another responsibility pops into my mind. Beginning my day with God gives Him priority. It aligns my heart to think about Him first. My relationship with Him comes before anything else in my life. I trust that when He is my top priority, He will take care of everything else.
2) My personal relationship with God must be just that -- individual.
Exodus 34:3 instructs Moses to come up to the mountain alone - not even to let flocks graze opposite of the mountain. Just because my husband's a Godly man, just because my dad is a pastor, just because I attend church every Sunday....that will not save me. I have to have my own alone time with Christ. Fellowship with other believers is important, but intimacy develops with alone time. If you NEVER had one-on-one time with your spouse, would that effect your intimacy? Of course. It is the same way with our relationship with Christ. Spending time reading His word, conversing with Him in prayer, even singing worship solos to Him is ultimately the best way for me to fall deeper in love with Christ.
3) With obedience and preparation, I must go above and beyond to make sure my personal time with the Lord happens.
Exodus 34:4 discusses Moses' obedience to do just as the Lord says. Also, Moses knew the Lord was going to tell him important things, so he took two stone tablets with Him. I don't know if you've ever been hiking - but it's tough! As a fitness fanatic, the first time I ever climbed a mountain, I was underprepared for the physical exertion I was about to go through! Not only did Moses do that, but he did it lugging two large stone tablets. Some days, spending quality time with the Lord is going to be a struggle. It's going to be inconvenient. But Moses knew that He needed to be prepared to share what God was going to teach him with the Israelites, so he did what was necessary. It may mean getting up an extra hour early. It may mean shuffling some of my schedule around. But it always boils down to this fact: I've never regretted a single moment that I've spend with the Lord.
4) I must surrender everything I am to be 100% humbly His.
When the Lord passed before Him, Moses "quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshipped" (Exodus 34:8). I can't let pride, selfish ambition or anything else get in the way of remembering that anything that I am in a result of everything God is. I cannot do anything on my own power, and nothing I have belongs to me. It has simply been entrusted to me by the God of the universe. Exodus 34:29 says that Moses didn't even know that His face was shining. Moses wasn't gloating about His time spent with the Lord. His humility allowed God to shine through Him.
5. I must get rid of things in my life that do not push me closer to God.
Moses went without food and water for the 40 days that he was on the mountain (Exodus 34:28). He wanted to be that focused on God. This is not limited to food, though I think fasting is an important spiritual practice. However, I need to continually ask myself - is there anything in my life that is holding me back from what God has called me to do? Hebrews 12:1-3 says, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."
Have you ever been around one of those people where Jesus' love just radiated out of them? Of course, I could name dozens of pastors and Christian speakers who regularly reflect Christ. However, when I am outside the church and can tell by the light in someone's eyes, the passion of their words, the kindness of the heart WHO their life belongs to...I am so overwhelmed by the greatness of God. When His influence over a person captives who they are, it inspires me to be more and do more for Christ.
To those people in my life, I say thank you. I need the accountability. I'm praying that my life will be a shining example for the Lord....just as brightly as Moses' face was before the Israelites.