Friday, 19 January 2018

Our Brightest Hour.

I wonder how many actors have played Winston Churchill on television or in movies?  Those that spring to mind are a galaxy of talent: Michael Gambon, Timothy Spall, Brendan Gleeson, Albert Finney, Robert Hardy, Timothy West.   Now add to those Gary Oldman, confidently tipped for an Oscar for his performance in ‘Darkest Hour’.  

In order to take on a physical resemblance to the great man Oldman wore a ‘fat-suit’ and endured three hours of prosthetic make-up every day.  The voice might not be such a big deal.  I remember my father doing a passable imitation.  Nevertheless, the end product is impressive and worthy of the publicity slogan: ‘Gary Oldman is Winston Churchill.’ 

The Apostle Paul often speaks of the Christian believer undergoing a transformation.  God is seeking to make us more like Jesus.  In Romans 8: 29 he speaks of Jesus as the elder brother in the Christian family and His followers are destined to be ‘conformed’ to His likeness.   Of course, this is not a physical likeness or something that can be worked up or acted out.  God is seeking to bring out from our own unique character the character of Jesus.  It is an inner transformation.   Paul says in Romans 12: 2: ‘Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’   

Paul sees this as the Holy Spirit making an impact on the mind of a man or a woman through the Gospel.  He or she is convinced that Jesus is the Son of God and that His life is the pattern for all Christian living.   The Spirit seeks to confirm the believer in that faith and to bring out all the qualities of Christ-likeness.  What are these qualities?  Paul speaks of them as ‘the   fruit of the Spirit’: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  (Galatians 5: 22)  To live by the Spirit is to commit our lives to all these qualities.  Paul speaks of keeping in step with the Spirit.  He sets the pace and we seek to keep up.  But in a way no coach or Personal Trainer can do the Spirit gives us His strength to keep up. 

In the end God does not want an impersonation of His Son but a genuine growth of those qualities that reflect His very nature.  No Oscars are handed out for this.  The glory belongs to God for doing in us what we could never do for ourselves and giving us our brightest hour.