This post is a reminder that once an individual becomes a follower of Jesus Christ, they do not immediately become completed works. We remain "works in progress" until we leave this earth even though we immediately become new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) — and this includes pastors and ministers.
Transform . . . “to change in form, appearance, or structure; metamorphose; or to change in condition, nature, or character; convert.”
Conform . . . “to act in accord with the prevailing standards, attitudes, practices, etc., of society or a group; or to be or become similar in form, nature, or character.”
Renew . . . “to restore or replenish; to recover (youth, strength, etc.); or to restore to a former state; make new or as if new again.”
We are familiar with the foregoing words. Yet, in light of Romans 12:2, they take on eternal significance.
You see, some transformations, like an overnight snowfall that changes an otherwise unremarkable landscape into a winter wonderland, happen quickly and are usually that way for a brief period.
Others, like the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a beautifully winged butterfly, or the changing of one season into another, take a bit longer.
Then some, like the vast splendor of the Grand Canyon or majesty of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, take many, many years to become transformed into the wonders they are today.
But there is one transformation that takes a lifetime to be completed. It is the wondrous, everlasting change of a believer into Christ-likeness that God makes in each of His children.
As we know, it is the Lord who is effecting this eternal change within us (Philippians 1:6; 2:13). However, in Romans 12:1 and 2, He clearly commands that we are to present our bodies as holy, living, and acceptable sacrifices unto Him—which the Lord says is our reasonable service.
The Lord further commands that we are not to be conformed [to act in accord with the prevailing standards, attitudes, practices, etc., of society or a group] to this world but that we are to be transformed [to change in condition, nature, or character] by the renewing [to make new or as if new again] of our minds so that we may prove His good, acceptable, and perfect will.
But how are we to do this? In and of ourselves, we cannot — it can only be done as we abide in Jesus and He abides in us. And the truth of the matter is, sometimes our transformation journeys will be downright painful — especially when the Lord is uprooting those deep, hidden things within us that look nothing like, I mean ABSOLUTELY NOTHING LIKE, His Son! Our journeys can also sometimes be painful when He is teaching us Kingdom Principles — like walking in the forgiveness of Matthew 5:44 and 6:14-15, or the 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love.
Although the Lord is doing the work in us, we still have a responsibility in the process. We must obey Him. We must also spend time alone with Him — in prayer and in the Word, allowing the Word to saturate our hearts. And we must submit to the work of the Holy Ghost. This then brings about the powerful transformation of a renewed mind.
Despite any pain, the transformation journey is truly awesome because God is always in control and He knows exactly what He is doing. He knows what each of us needs in order to be transformed into the image of His Son. He knows how much time, suffering and sorrow, purging, pruning, shaping, molding, and refining by fire that we need. He knows how to lovingly draw us into obedience and total surrender while teaching us how to fiercely withstand being conformed into the world’s ungodly norms.
We are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made — as are our conversions into Christ-likeness which causes me to exclaim: O, the wonder of a real God-encounter and its inevitable transformation!
And Father God, how grateful we are that You are patiently and lovingly transforming us into the likeness of Your Precious Son, Jesus.