We have been talking about how to obtain God's perspective in the past few blogs. The basic way God directs us to gain true perspective is found in the familiar passage of Romans 12:1-2. He tells us:
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Being conformed to the world means seeing and living life the way most people would, the world’s way. God tells us not to do that. Instead, we are to see and live life His way, which will enable us to prove (i.e., to try, test, be an example of, or experience) God’s good, acceptable and perfect will (where “perfect” means complete, mature, or having reached its end). God says that the means by which we can do this is by being transformed.
Notice that this is a directive, an imperative to us. God says, “Be transformed,” which implies that we must play an active part in this transformation! And we do -- or at least we can, if we will -- as we’re going to see.
Note also that the Greek word translated “transformed” is not just talking about behavior-modification, or self-improvement, or overcoming some bad habit. The Greek word is metamorphoo, from which we get the word metamorphosis. This speaks of a fundamental change in kind or nature. It’s what happens when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. It’s the word used to describe Jesus being transfigured in Matthew 17:2 and Mark 9:2. It’s also the root of the word used in 2 Corinthians 3:18, which says:
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
This verse gives four powerful insights into the transformation God desires to accomplish in us:
1. Transformation has an aim, “the glory of the Lord.” God is at His end of His telescope. He wants our sights set on Him, not chasing after everything the world does.
2. Transformation is a process. In fact, spiritual growth is a progressive process, “from glory to glory.” It doesn’t occur all at once. This reminds me of Chapter 5, where we saw the series of illustrations showing the journey to God’s end of His telescope.
3. Transformation is affected by alertness. “Beholding” suggests intentionality and consistency of gaze, not just a casual glance from time to time. Do we recognize God’s transformational opportunities when they come? Are we looking for them all the time? For most of us believers, the answer is, “No.” I say that because of the way we react to most of what happens in our lives.
4. Transformation is affected by attitude. It requires an “unveiled face.” Are we open to transformation? Do we really think we need it? How much? Are we holding on to or hiding some of who we are, what we have or what we want?
Watch how all these come into play as we consider what I call “God’s transformation cycle for spiritual growth.” But to help us appreciate God’s approach, we will look in our next blog at our approach to dealing with life and the “unexpected” situations that come our way.