For those of you that are blessed to be in the more northern extremities of the USA, you’re seeing the beauty and majesty crafted by the hand of God upon the tree tops.
Lets discuss transformation today…
Note from Kip,
One of the things I miss so much about the move nearly 20 years ago from Michigan to Alabama, is the wonderful fall color change. That transformation taking place each year never failed to take my breath away in the coolness of the autumn afternoons.
We didn’t have pumpkin spiced ‘everything’ but as the coolness turn yet cooler, a cup of hot spiced apple cider was the most healing elixir imaginable. The warmth and the cinnamon transformed simple apple cider into something that could simultaneously warm, sooth, and excite the spirit.
Transformation takes place all around us. Some transformations are wonderful such as the fall colors in the cooler regions and that spiced cider. Others however, can make us uneasy or straight up fearful.
The one thing that is for certain is that we must learn to adapt to change or we will become fraught with frustration and suffering from anxiousness.
Something else that is certain as well, is that change, transformation, will take place in the natural order of things. The state of something never remains constant, there is either growth or decay. The important element of transformation is what forms the growth and decay take on. This can result in either positive or negative outcomes.
Transformation for the Believer
There are two major transformation events for the follower of Christ Jesus. The first is obvious, salvation.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17 (CSB)
We don’t always have an easy time letting go of the ‘old’ when we give our hearts to Jesus. It’s remarkable the number of people that call themselves Christian but still live the way they did before they accepted Christ as their savior.
In a very real sense they battle against the natural transformation that should be taking place within them, as the old carnal nature that we are born with is being transformed into the Devine nature of Christ.
His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. By these he has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.
2 Peter 1:3-4 (CSB)
So as followers of Jesus we should be seeing a linear progression from our old nature to what is new to us a divine nature that is of Christ. But often that progression is stalled or halted by the old nature pushing back. The old nature of course is the flesh itself.
The other transformation taking place here should be the transition from corruptible to incorruptible. “escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire“, which not only points out the transformation, but also gives us the reason why, evil desires. Once again pointing back to the influence of the flesh.
In these bodies, the transformation towards the Devine nature of Christ is going to be be interfered with by the flesh, the carnal nature.
Paul made it clear that it wasn’t a matter of who you are you will battle with the carnality of the flesh so long as we exist in these bodies.
For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate. Now if I do what I do not want to do, I agree with the law that it is good. So now I am no longer the one doing it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh.
Romans 7:15-18 (CSB)
I know what I should be doing but yet when it comes down to execution of that which is right I do what is wrong.
It sounds a bit disheartening doesn’t it?
So I discover this law: When I want to do what is good, evil is present with me.
For in my inner self I delight in God’s law, but I see a different law in the parts of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and taking me prisoner to the law of sin in the parts of my body.
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
Romans 7:21-24 (CSB)
People used to say ‘The Devil made me do it!’, as an excuse for doing the wrong thing when we know we should be doing something else. But it is our flesh and not the devil prompting us to do those things.
How do we overcome this battle of the flesh against the Devine nature of Christ growing in us? How do we feed the good and suppress the inherent evil within us?
What the law could not do since it was weakened by the flesh, God did.
He condemned sin in the flesh by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh as a sin offering, in order that the law’s requirement would be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
For those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their minds set on the things of the Spirit.
Now the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace.
Romans 8:3-6 (CSB)
The ability to overcome the onslaught of the old nature, is to establish our presence in the Spirit. “the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace” and it is in the Spirit we are to abide. The ‘mind-set’ that allows us to walk in the spirit, is the result of what we see in
Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship.
Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
Romans 12:1-2 (CSB)
It’s here that we can start the process of shifting our focus from the things of this world to the things of God and His will in our lives.
God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and in truth.”
John 4:24 (CSB)
I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh.
For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Galatians 5:16-18 (CSB)
Seems like yet another transformation in here, doesn’t it? Well there is, repentance. Repentance is giving up our ‘old ways’, having a change of heart and then committing to do what God calls us to do.
Repentance isn’t a one time deal. We don’t just repent and then we are all better, because the flesh is going to attack and try to tare us away from that which we have committed to Jesus.
As we realize, are convicted, of this diversion from the path we need to repent again, and again, and still again. This is not going to change until we are changed. And that is the other end of the believers earthly existences.
The other obvious transformation has to do with that first one as well, transforming our nature. When Christ comes for us, we are going to see a magnificent transformation then.
He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of his glorious body, by the power that enables him to subject everything to himself.
Philippians 3:21 (CSB)
Jesus is going to transform this body into a body in the likeness of himself. No longer entangled in the corruption of the flesh but transformed by the power which He makes everything subject to His will.
The other major transformation
Jesus tasked us to another transformation as well. That is the one where we become His Disciples.
This isn’t something that died out ages ago, it is what He calls each and every believer to today, right now.
Paul showed us the basic thrust of being a Disciple of Christ.
Imitate me, as I also imitate Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:1 (CSB)
Taking this approach we find that we are engaged in the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:19-20 (CSB)
Paul was living the example that Christ gave us. The charge He directed each and everyone who trusts in Him as Savior and Lord to attend to. Be His Disciple and in doing so, disciple others. Let your example provide others the direction to follow Christ by being His Disciple.
It is an amazing transformation that we necessarily must take the lead in. There is a conscious decision involved in becoming a Disciple of Jesus Christ.
Now it isn’t anything new or apart from the the Gospel of Jesus, rather it is a conscious commitment to pattern our lives after Christ.
WWJD was a popular acronym for a number of years, I still like it today. It means; What Would Jesus Do.
Being a Disciples means not just following the master. But learning from the Master, and doing the things the Master does, and behaving in a manner as the Master behaves.
Tall order no doubt. A lifetime commitment to be sure. But it’s not something we are going to complete in this lifetime. The full realization of this transformation will not fully take place until Jesus transforms our body into that perfect body He’s got crafted for us. Then we as Philippians 3:21 says, will be like Him.
In the mean time, we as committed Disciples of Christ seek the lost. Spread the Good News to every person from every nation. No we can’t do it all on our own but we can do our part and the body of Christ will function to accomplish that which Jesus sat out for us in Matthew 28: 19-20.
The Disciple isn’t the finished product of the transformation. The Disciple is the believer in transition to undergo the transformation into the likeness of Jesus.
There are many transformations that take place in the life of a follower of Jesus Christ. These three are massively significant.
My prayer is that you have undergone that first transformation and surrendered your struggle to Jesus, placing your faith and trust in Him to remove the burden of sin from you. To implant in you His Devine nature so that you can begin the second transition, becoming His Disciple.
You will not be perfect, we never will be while we exist in these bodies. If it were not for the grace of Jesus that covers all our sins, we would be hopelessly lost for eternity.
Becoming His Disciple doesn’t mean that we will not falter and sin. That goes back to the battle of the two natures within us. To put the weight on the the right side of that scale we need to walk in the Spirit. The commitment to be more like Jesus everyday sets us on that path of walking in the Spirit.
Through the Spirits intervention we will gain understanding where there was confusion, we will find direction where there is no path forward, we will being the transformation into the likeness of Jesus.