As we enter the summer months, many are preparing for vacations and hoping to come back with evidence of their relaxing time in the great weather with a suntan. We all look better with a little bit of sun. But lately, I have been more interested in getting a Son-tan. Paul speaks of this.
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit (2 Co 3:18).
The Greek katoptron is translated contemplate, but in many other versions, it is reflect. They both have truth. Biblical “Contemplation is the awareness and realization, even in some sense experience, of what each [Believer] obscurely believes: ‘It is now no longer I that live but Messiah lives in me.’” 
Katoptron “is the most common term…for mirror.”  The idea is that as we spend time with God in his presence—looking at him, but as in a mirror, which has reflection. As we look at Yeshua, his reflection has an impact or imprint on us, like with Moses when he had to put a veil on his face. “Paul asserts that all Christians can, like Moses, approach the glory of the Lord with unveiled faces and experience the same transformation.”  And this splendor is ever-increasing.
How to get a Son-tan?
Well, just ask yourself, how do I get a suntan? It's pretty simple, you spend time in the sun. And as you spend time in the sun, the evidence of the sun temporarily stays with you, and everyone you encounter can see it. As we develop consistent time in the presence of the Son, his character becomes our character, and his countenance becomes our countenance, and people take notice.
The Sanhedrin, the PhDs of their day, looked at these unlearned fishermen—the apostles—and were in shock. To be clear, they did not think the apostles were stupid, but they knew that they were Galilean fishermen, untrained in the deep things of rabbinic Judaism. In their paradigm, no one can truly know God that deeply any other way. But they “saw the courage of Peter and John” (Acts 4:13) and it must have been reminded of the authority in which Jesus preached because they connected their boldness with being with the Messiah.
Yet their testimony before the members of the council was astonishing. Peter and John were bold, composed, confident, and undaunted in their defense. As the apostles stood there with the healed cripple, speaking with authority, the members of the Council recognized them as men who had been with Jesus. Their boldness was possible only because they were filled with the Holy Spirit 
In short, they were Son-tanned!
Ephesians 3 says that Messiah dwells in our hearts through faith. When the Son of God is living inside of you, it changes you. But this is something that we build on daily. Just like someone says, I’m working on a good suntan. They don't just lay out one day and think it's over. The serious sunbather (of which I am not) has a plan. They lay on their back, and then they lay on their front. Then they come back the next day. They may even use some suntan lotion to keep from getting burned. In other words, they are intentional about getting a suntan.
If you want to have the lasting effects of the Son remain with you, then you, too, must have a plan. You, too, must be intentional. I'm not talking about works or legalism. I'm talking about people who are desperately hungry to experience the Holy Spirit on a regular basis. There is no other way to have that glorious imprint on your soul than spending time in the Son-light.
It is Temporary
Just like a suntan, a Son-tan is temporary. I'm not talking about losing your salvation. I'm talking about the believer who walks with the Holy Spirit who knows that just like any other relationship, you must invest time. I'm speaking about the tree of Psalm 1, that is planted by the river—the river is God! God seeps into you as you are planted on the shore. Your leaf never withers, and you always bear fruit.
The believers were filled with the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. The fire of God gave them a powerful Son-tan, and everybody took notice. Some thought they were drunk, while many more were cut to the heart and became followers of the Messiah. The believers continued to seek God. They were not satisfied with the Acts 2 experience. They wanted more! We find them in Acts 4 being filled again. They had just suffered unjust persecution, but they returned to the place of prayer, and God answered. “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly” (Acts 4:3)
We have a small baby pool on our balcony. It came with our apartment. When the temps get really hot here in the Middle East, we can fill up the pool and get refreshed. However, the first time I filled it, I noticed a few hours later that it was half full and empty by morning. Apparently, it had several holes.
That is us. We leak. Just like the Israelites who had to collect manna every day, we come to the Lord's table daily for more heavenly manna. Like a suntan, you have to stay in the sun to keep it.
Some days, I can feel the rays of the Holy Spirit raining down on me to the point that I am overflowing with joy. Sometimes I can't help but cry in his presence. I wish it was like that every time I prayed. But sometimes it's not. Many times I can sit in silence for 30 minutes and feel absolutely nothing that I am aware of. I can read the Word, and it seems dry. I can pray through the Lord's prayer for 30 minutes and feel like I'm just talking to myself.
Did you know that you can get a suntan on a cloudy day? It's technically not the sun that tans your body but the UV rays. And the UV rays that come from the sun can penetrate the clouds. You can actually get sunburned on a cloudy day! I think of the sun like the Son who sends the Spirit to believers. “I (Yeshua) will send [the Holy Spirit] to you” (Jn. 16:7) The Spirit is like the UV rays coming from the sun.
When you come to the place of prayer, come in faith, believing that even if you don't feel anything, God is at work. Sometimes I will have a season of prayer like I mentioned above, and then later in the day, when I least expect it, I'm suddenly enjoying incredible peace or joy or both.
In fact, it may be in those difficult seasons of prayer that the enemy is resisting you and God is planning a breakthrough. You see, there are light clouds that UV rays can easily penetrate, but then there are dark, heavy clouds that actually block them to a large degree. In such times, we must persevere (not for a suntan, but for a spiritual breakthrough!)
When Daniel prayed for Israel for three weeks, an angel came and explained that he was in battle with the Prince of Persia (a demon) during that time. But that God heard him on the very first day he began to pray.
Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. (Dan 10:12–13)
Thank God, Daniel didn’t give up!
Some believers unknowingly wear a Son-blocker. Just like a sun blocker can protect you from harmful UV rays, there are believers who do not want to be formed into the image of Jesus—which is the goal of New Testament discipleship. Robert Mulholland wrote that “spiritual formation is (1) a process (2) of being formed (3) in the image of Christ (4) for the sake of others.” 
But many don’t want that; they don’t want to get too close to the Son—maybe just close enough to make it into heaven. But God's plan was never for you to merely make it into heaven but for heaven to make it into you!
We've all met believers who don't seek to implement or grow in the fruit of the Holy Spirit in. They don't share their faith, and they don't serve humanity in any significant way. This is not the abundant life that Jesus promised (John 10:10)! They are often jealous and can lose their temper at the drop of a hat or be rude to a waiter. They need to get rid of their Son-blocker and allow the Holy Spirit to change them from the inside out. They have been deceived into thinking that it is acceptable to mouth the name of Yeshua, but make little to no effort to possess the abundant life. It is like knowing that there is treasure on the other side of a river, but they've never been troubled enough to actually get in the river.
Someone figured out how to artificially create UV rays in tanning beds. They even have fake tan lotions. It's easy to spot someone with a fake tan. According to someone online named Sage, fake tans give themselves away.
I can spot a fake tan. A fake tan is usually a darker color than a natural tan, and it is often uneven or patchy. Additionally, it may have a distinct orange or yellow undertone. It is also important to note that a fake tan is often accompanied by an unnatural smell, such as the smell of biscuits. 
Sadly, many believers fake their spirituality. I once had a friend who could quote scripture from memory like a robot. The problem was, like a robot, the scripture had very little impact on his character. When I first met him, he was going to marry a friend of mine. I asked him what he did for a living, and he told me he was an intercessor. I thought to myself, no, you're unemployed.
The marriage ended in divorce, and despite his immense knowledge of scripture, he never got his life pointed in the right direction. He had a fake tan.
I had another friend who talked about deep encounters with the Lord that he would have every single morning. In fact, he wrote about it constantly. But he had a horrible temper and treated his family with contempt. By the time he passed away, he had broken off virtually every relationship with other leaders over personal offenses. He could never consistently join and stay in a New Testament community. It always ended in conflict. He had a fake tan.
I have a fake tan
Believe me, part of my tan is fake. God knows I am not perfect, and sometimes I find myself presenting myself in a more spiritual light than reality would testify. May the Lord give you and me both grace never to have a fake tan, but to look straight into the eyes of Jesus with a pure conscience and let the Spirit of God change us. And let us do it often!
Let me know if this blog blessed you as I am working on a book under the same name: SON-TANNED, about being formed by God into the image of his Son.
 Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation (Norfolk, CT: New Directions, 1961), 4-5.
 William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 535.
 David E. Garland, 2 Corinthians, vol. 29, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 198.
 Bruce B. Barton and Grant R. Osborne, Acts, Life Application Bible Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1999), 62–63
 Robert Mulholland, Invitation to a Journey (Transforming Resources) (p. 19). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.