The Most Wonderful Reflection of All

By Mark D. Roberts

November 28, 2023

A Biblical Guide to Reflection

A Note from Mark

Dear Life for Leaders Reader,

You may have seen my intro note on Tuesday of this week asking you to consider supporting Life for Leaders and the De Pree Center financially. If you missed that note and would like to read it, you can find it here. Also, I would encourage you to read what Michaela, the De Pree Center’s executive director, wrote in her #GivingTuesday letter.

Whether you support this work financially or not, we are grateful to be able to serve you. Please pray for us and tell your friends about us!

Grace and Peace,


Scripture — 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NRSV)

And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.


What is the most wonderful reflection of all? Perhaps it’s the reflection of Christ’s own glory seen when we look upon ourselves in a mirror. Yes, by God’s grace and through the Spirit we begin to reflect the very glory of God. Yet we’re just at the first stages of being transformed from one degree of glory to another. We are “clay pots,” to be sure, yet pots in which God’s glory is present.

This devotion is part of the series: A Biblical Guide to Reflection.


This is my final devotion in the series I’ve called A Biblical Guide to Reflection. For over a month I have been looking forward to sharing with you some thoughts about what is surely one of the most wonderful, mind-expanding, astounding verses in all of Scripture. This verse reveals what might be the most wonderful reflection of all.

This verse comes in 2 Corinthians 3, a chapter in which the Apostle Paul is talking about glory, in particular, the glory that shone on Moses’s face after he received the law on Mt. Sinai (Exodus 34:29-30). That glory, however amazing it might have been, didn’t last (2 Corinthians 3:13).

In contrast, we who know God through Jesus Christ and in the freedom of the Holy Spirit experience a different sort of glory. Verse 18 reads, “And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.” Unlike Moses, we do not need to veil our faces because our glory is either too bright or fading. We are blessed to see “the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror.” This translation correctly renders the underlying Greek verb which means, literally, to look at something in a mirror. The shocking implication of this statement seems to be that somehow we are seeing the very glory of Christ in our own reflection.

This is what I am calling the most wonderful reflection of all. Just think about it. You and I are already beginning to reflect the glory of Christ. Yes, we still wrestle with sin. Yes, we are imperfect. Yes, God has so much more to do in us. But, even still, the glory of Christ has begun to permeate our very being.

But that’s not the end of what is mind-blowingly wonderful about 2 Corinthians 3:18. After noting that we reflect the glory of Christ, this verse goes on to say that we “are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.” Right now, our degree of glory is relatively low. At least that’s certainly true of me. I’m only beginning to reflect the full glory of Christ. But God isn’t through with us when it comes to our glorification. On the contrary, we “are being transformed” to be more and more like Christ as the Spirit of God forms us. (For those of you who like words, the Greek verb translated here as “are being transformed” is metamorphoō, the root of our word “metamorphosis.”)

You may be wondering how all of this theology relates to reflection in general and self-reflection in particular. Well, first of all, I want to emphasize the truth that you and I are in some way reflecting the glory of Christ right now. When we “gaze” upon ourselves in self-reflection, we are invited to see the presence of Christ in us. Though we acknowledge the ways in which we are still imperfect, we nevertheless can begin to see where God is at work, transforming us to be more like Jesus.

Second, 2 Corinthians 3:18 reminds us that we are just getting started in the “degree of glory” process. We “are being transformed from one degree of glory to another,” but we certainly haven’t arrived at our final state of glory. Thus, as we reflect upon God’s presence in our lives, we also pay attention to where we need more of God’s sanctifying grace at work in us.

A few verses later in chapter 4 of 2 Corinthians we learn that God “has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (4:6). Yet this does not mean we are fully glorious beings. On the contrary, the next verse notes that “we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us” (4:7).

Thus, when we engage in self-reflection as Christians, we take in the whole picture. We see ourselves as “clay jars,” humble, common, earthy. Because of our sin, we are dust and to dust we shall return. Yet in our clay jars, we find the extraordinary power and glory of God. We don’t deny our “clayness.” Nor do we deny our gloriousness as people who reflect the very glory of Christ. We rejoice in that our “clayness” is being turned into gloriousness. Yet we recognize that this process has only begun in us. In time, it will be completed.

As Paul once wrote to the Philippians, “The one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6). In the meanwhile, we are to “work out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). Yet we don’t do this on our own. Rather, “it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). Once again, we see that self-reflection leads, not to a preoccupation with ourselves, but rather to celebrating God’s glory and grace in our lives.


When you “look in your spiritual mirror,” what do you see? A clay jar? A container of God’s glory?

As you reflect on your life, where do you see evidence of God’s work in and through you?

As you reflect on your life, where does your “clayness” still need transformation?


2 Corinthians 3:18 is a wonderful verse, but not one that’s easy to understand or take in. See if you can set aside some time in the next day to read through that verse slowly and prayerfully, several times. Hear what God wants to say to you through this verse.


Gracious God, thank you for the astounding good news of 2 Corinthians 3:18. Thank you for the fact that we can begin to reflect your glory as if in a mirror. How amazing! And thank you for transforming us through the Spirit, helping us to reflect Christ more truly and fully.

Yet, we are still clay pots. You know this, Lord. We are humble, earthy, and mortal. But you still chose to dwell within us, filling our “clayness” with your glory. How wonderful!

Dear Lord, as I reflect on who I am, may I have the clarity to see the full picture. Yes, I am still a clay pot in need of transformation. Yet I am also one who is beginning even now to reflect your glory. May my self-reflection bring me to new wonder and worship as I see your grace at work in me. Amen.

Banner image by Vanessa Serpa on Unsplash.

Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project’s online commentary. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: A Genuine Reputation (2 Corinthians 3).

Subscribe to Life for Leaders

Sign up to receive a Life for Leaders devotional each day in your inbox. It’s free to subscribe and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Mark D. Roberts

Senior Strategist

Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders,...

More on Mark

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Learn Learn Learn Learn

the Life for Leaders newsletter

Learn Learn Learn Learn