Monday, January 18, 2010

The Quest for a Radical Transformation

Romans 12:2 says, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

So many Christians are familiar with this verse, and it is quoted quite often in churches, but have you ever dug deep to figure out what the word "transformation" really means, and it is really possible for a person to be transformed?

The word "transformation" comes from the Greek word μεταμόρφωσις, which means, metamorphosis. To me, the term metamorphosis more clearly describes what God means when he tells us to be transformed through His power. You see, when something experiences metamorphosis, it completely changes.

An example of a true metamorphosis would be an insect that completely changes its biological structure. For instance, what starts out as a tiny larvae, turns into a worm, then builds a cocoon, and emerges as a butterfly. The insect completely changed from one state to another, from the inside out.

That is what Romans 12:2 is encouraging us to do in Christ - to allow Him to change us completely. Not partially. Not just the areas that we dont mind changing. Not just the things that we wanted to change. But completely.

A 19th century German philosopher named Friedrich Nietzsche was best known for his statement "God is dead". The death of God movement in the sixties is sometimes technically referred to as "theothanatology" and promotes the belief that humans are no longer able to believe in any supernatural order since they themselves no longer recognize it - which basically means, that since there was no evidence that peoples lives and hearts were changing as a result of their belief in God, then He must certainly be dead.

Obviously to me, and anyone else who claims Jesus as the only Savior of the world, this is an extremely offensive statement, and a grossly false assumption, because we know and believe that the Holy Trinity is alive and well.

However, did Nietzsche have a point with his underlying comment that if you cant see real life change in people who claim to believe in God, then God must not really be present in their lives? I think he did.

When we accept Jesus as our Savior, and commit to living a life that brings glory to Him, we are each to experience a radical transformation - one that people can see happening in us.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"

When we truly undergo a radical transformation of the heart, mind and soul, our outward behaviors and actions will become a new creation, obvious to all who see us. So if we say we are in Christ, but there is no metamorphosis occurring in our life, are we really a new creation?

We are not impressed by looking at an ugly gray cocoon, but we are always impressed by the beauty and splendor of a butterfly when it emerges from that cocoon. Now our goal is not to impress anyone, but our goal should be for others to see the transformation that has happened to us, because of our love for Christ, which then becomes a witness to people around us who need to find Christ for themselves.

If we truly have a desire to follow Christ, then our hearts will be filled with a longing for Him to change us - even if it hurts - even if it means making some sacrifices - even if it means no longer doing things that we once enjoyed - even it means ending some relationships - even it means pulling away from friends that are not a good influence - even if it means breaking some habits or addictions.

Radical transformation involves removing those barriers that I just mentioned above, which are keeping us from becoming that new creation. Simply put, anything or anyone that causes us to stumble in our faith, needs to be removed from our life.

Becoming a Christian, and living a life that is indicative of faith, takes a commitment to allow God to continually work on transforming us. Radical transformation does not happen overnight, it takes time, effort, perseverance, and faith. It takes a willingness and an inner desire to become that new creation.

It is a brand new year. What better time to embrace the concept of "out with the old, in with the new", and embrace the opportunity to be radically transformed.

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Jenny said...

So true! And we are invitied by God to experience this day by day!

Rachel B said...

Metamorphosis...boy, that gives a much clearer vision of what Paul was writing about, doesn't it?!

I often get frustrated with myself because this metamorphosis takes time...and I want it now! I need to remember that even a caterpillar doesn't become a butterfly overnight. It takes some time, but it DOES happen. I pray that others can see this transformation happening in me.

Thank you for the great post!! Such a good reminder to get me refocused and moving forward. :)

LeeAnn@Encouragement Is Contagious said...

Hi Tracie!

I have learned that this transformation will continue to develop no matter how old we get. I just pray that as I am developing, others will see who created me!
Sometimes I think I resemble more of a moth than a butterfly, but thank God that he isn't finished with me yet.

Lee Ann