And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit (2Cor 3.18).
Listening to a rather enlightening sermon this weekend, I came to the realization that in my personal warring against the deeds of my flesh by the Spirit (cf. Rm. 8:17), I have been praying for the wrong things and searching for the wrong remedies. And though it is indeed comforting that in spite of my ignorance of how I ought to pray that the Spirit of God intercedes for me with groanings that accord with the will of God (cf. Rm. 8:26, 27), it is nevertheless wonderful and helpful when the Spirit shares his groanings with me either through his Word or through expositors of it.
My wrong prayer essentially was this: “Lord, make that which I desire in my flesh undesirable to me.” Looking back upon that request (which I have made many times in my young life), it is a very weak request. It essentially asks for something unnatural to happen in me that takes away my desires for fleshly things and requests nothing to fill their place. If such a request were granted to me, I would be devoid of those fleshly desires and would naturally and eventually return to them. For humans are by nature passionate creatures, and removing one desire and not replacing it is not an option. Men must desire.
Instead, I should have prayed this way: “Lord, show me your glory.” For it is in the beholding of the glory of God that we are changed from one degree of glory to another and thus conformed to image of Christ (cf. 2Cor. 3:18), and it is in the beholding the glory of God that we put to death the deeds of the body, for when we behold the glory of God, that which we desire in the flesh becomes petty and trite in comparison. And this is done by the Spirit. Therefore, that which is declared in Roman 8:13, expressly, “If you, by the Spirit, put to death the deeds of the body,” is clarified by 2 Corinthians 3:18, “For this (i.e. the beholding of the glory of God) comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. For this reason, if we are to have any victory over our flesh, we must by the Spirit behold the glory of God.
Therefore, from this point forward my prayer shall be that Moses: “Lord, show me your glory” (Ex. 33:18).