Then Moses descended from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands. When descending from the mountain, the skin of his face shone because he had been talking to God, but Moses did not know it. Exodus 34.29
The person who spends time with God can not avoid being transformed! Does any other passage better illustrate this truth? The intensity of the encounter between the prophet and Jehovah had been such that even the skin of his face shone. It reminds us immediately of the transfiguration of Christ, where the disciples saw that “His garments became resplendent, very white, like snow, so much so that no washer on earth can make them so white” (Mr 9.3). And this brightness was not merely the glow of the fabric of his garments, but the brightness produced by the presence of something spiritual.
When I read this passage, I think: How many of us would like to experience something similar to this! Those of us who walk in Christ yearn for this experience of closeness to the Lord so much, even if we were even allowed to touch the edge of his cloak. What will it feel like to live an experience like this? Can we stand in front of such a visitation of God?
Our “holy envy” of the experience that was granted to Moses, however, does not notice a small detail in the verse we share today. It is that the prophet did not know that his face was shining. Insignificant thing, right? In this detail, however, we find part of the mystery of the transformation that works in us. That transformation, together with the spiritual experiences that accompany it, are not primarily for our enjoyment. Many times we do not even know that he is working in our lives. The goal of his work is for others to see the glory of God reflected in our lives, not for us to proudly show our spiritual maturity.
For this reason, we should carefully examine the hidden motivations of our hearts. Many times I see among pastors a subtle struggle to see who receives greater honor in meetings and meetings with other leaders. The apostle Paul encourages the Philippian church to “do nothing out of rivalry or vanity” (Phil. 2.3). The “vanaglory” is one that seems to be genuine, but in reality have no value. It is the recognition and applause that comes from men, and not the word of approval that comes from our heavenly Father. As such, it is destined to be forgotten.
As leaders we should strive for a life of holiness and intimacy such that our life shines with glory from on high. Our sole presence will testify of the magnificence of the God we serve. But know that as soon as you become aware of that glow it will vanish. Our good Father knows how quickly we take pride in what, in reality, is not ours. That is why Paul was given a thorn in the flesh. So that the extraordinary greatness was of God, and not of the apostle.