We beheld his glory

And the word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace und truth. (John 1:14)
Thanks to Jesus Christ, the glory of God came into the flesh and dwelt full of grace and truth bodily among men. And thanks to his resurrection from the dead, God's Word can also become flesh in us through the love of God which the Holy Spirit pours into the heart. And if we share this grace, we can also exult in the hope of the glory of God to come.
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)
Our life is as blessed and glorious as we have communion with God and his Word. What good is it to pray, God bless us, when we abhor tribulations? How can one believe the Holy Spirit works in those who act like unbelievers? What kind of Christians are those who have never learned to obey the Holy Spirit and by the truth be guided towards perfection? Jesus expresses this by a metaphor:
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:53-54)
“Eating flesh and drinking blood” sounded so barbaric and incomprehensible that many disciples left Jesus Christ. They were so many that he asked the twelve who remained: you do not want to go away also, do you? Then Simon Peter answered:
Lord, to whom we shall go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God. (John 6:68-69)
These twelve understood that “eating flesh and drinking blood” is not to be understood literally, but that it means to do in everyday life what Jesus, as a forerunner, enjoins the disciples to do in order to share the divine inheritance with him. Shortly before, Jesus had explained to the disciples his actual mission:
My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. (John 4:34)
Any development requires food and time, a lot of time, patience and perseverance. Without spiritual nourishment, without temptations, the will of God can not become flesh and we can neither develop nor share the glory of Christ.
Because you have kept the word of my perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. (Revelation 3:10)
We must take seriously the exhortation to be perseverant. To become perseverant, faithful and steadfast, it must be learned in the hour of temptation. But what does it mean to be perseverant? To be perseverant means to wait, wait and wait! How long? Constantly! To be perfectly perseverant therefore means to wait without murmurs and doubts until the end.
And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:4)
We can pray for more endurance, more love and more joy. But we do not get any more if we do not first use what has been entrusted to us. If we are faithful to give, God will entrust us more. Giving provides blessings and fellowship. This is what the Apostle Paul confirms by saying:
It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35)
Giving creates communion. To the extent we give and give of ourselves, a blessed harmonious community is formed. The members learn to be useful to the whole body. Thus the church reflects the body of Christ. Therefore, it is vitally important that we be nourished with God's Word, and not with all sorts of varied and strange teachings. Without a healthy food that strengthens the heart, there is no real spiritual growth. Hence this apostolic exhortation:
Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited. We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. (Hebrews 13:9-10)
He, who through the grace of God and a healthy spiritual food grows up to the age of man, he is also able to nourish the souls who are entrusted to him. By God's grace the apostle Paul became what he was. He loved the truth and had so much love, patience, justice and faith that he could exhort anyone:
Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)
Useful ministers are not shining through eloquence, but with the virtues of Christ, the fruit of the Spirit. No eloquence leads to unity and growth of a congregation, but the spiritual nourishment given by ministers who first have learned to do what they preach and teach others. If there is neither peace nor unity in a congregation, it is known that it has not been properly nourished with the Word of God. The growth toward perfection is a long development on the narrow path that leads to life. Jesus shows under what conditions one may advance on this royal path:
If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23)
Although only the very crossroad leads to glory, it is hardly mentioned in churches and assemblies. Some communities organize symbolic crossroads; others hold praise and thanksgiving services where they exalt with their lips God's greatness and omnipotence, and clapping hands in the hope that God will hear the prayers. Ah, if our spiritual growth were to depend on God alone, we would be complete in an instant. But now it is up to us to overcome the works of the body under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And this we have to learn by following the footsteps which Christ, who was mildly and humble, left behind.
Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness. (1 John 3:4)
To purify self means to think and act in such a way as to be transformed into Christ's image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18). The Holy Spirit enlightens what is wrong, defective and imperfect in our actions (the works of the body), and thus gives us the opportunity to improve what is good, to correct what is imperfect, to purify what is deficient and to eliminate, to kill, what is evil.
The more we are interested in discovering what is imperfect, the better we can purify ourselves and reveal the virtues of Christ. The glory of God - the resemblance of Christ - does not come by magic, but through faithfulness and obedience in the daily life, when we reach out to the pre-eminent goal of our heavenly calling.