“…Be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” (Romans 12:2)
A few days ago, we were talking about change – about making the needed changes in our lives.
The skeptic, within us all, wonders if this is even possible.
We hear it so often… “People don’t really change. We are what we are – and the sooner we just accept that fact, the sooner we can get on with just living our lives.”
But this is the wonder of God’s promises to us (as revealed in the Bible). At the heart of the gospel is a message of change – that what we are CAN be something else entirely – something good, decent, and purposeful. In fact, the Bible even tells us that the change that comes to us is often bigger than we realize.
Actually, the change we are talking about is a transformation. We are not just an improved version of ourselves… we are a whole new version of ourselves.
The original word used for “transformed” (in our verse above) is the same word from which we get the word metamorphosis: “to change from one form to another.”
Of course, the classic example of metamorphosis is the butterfly. We know the drill… the butterfly starts out as a caterpillar (more like a worm than a flying creature), becomes encased in a cocoon, and later emerges as a butterfly.
Now, if you didn’t know about this process, you would never associate those ugly worm-things with a beautiful butterfly. The two creatures have zero similarity. Different appearance. Different habits. Different objectives. But the butterfly and the caterpillar are the same creature. The butterfly is just a transformed caterpillar – totally changed from one thing to another.
I think God gave us the butterfly as a picture of what happens to the believer in Christ. We start out as one thing – and through the miracle of God’s means of “metamorphosis,” we become another. Our “butterfly stage” is the end result of what Jesus has done for us. Before Christ, we only knew one kind of life and living… but after committing our hearts to Jesus, we are literally transformed into a whole different kind of life and living (more beautiful, meaningful, and free!).
Two quick notes… First, as the butterfly was originally designed to BE a butterfly, so we who inhabit this earth were made to live in our transformed state. Jesus came to make it possible for all of us human “caterpillars” to become what we were originally designed to be. Our Creator created us to live as the “finished product” – fully changed, fully transformed.
Second, our verse for today tells us that our transformation is based upon a renewed mind (literally, a new way of thinking). That new way of thinking is in line with the way God thinks about things AND in line with all that Jesus has done for us to make us new. The idea of the apostle is this… AS we align our thinking with what God says of us (now that we belong to Him) we ARE, at that very moment, transformed.
Only those who are committed to Jesus can ever really be transformed into what we were designed to be – and transformation is what Jesus came to provide for us.