Thank you for walking with me these past few weeks as I process my thoughts on transformation. I know this series is in no way an exhaustive look at transformation, I have merely been sharing some of the things I have seen and experienced in my own journey. I needed to chronicle my thoughts because I was feeling a bit of self pity due to the length and heaviness of the process. God began opening my eyes to things I had never paid attention to before; things that had always been there, but I hadn’t acknowledged or thought about.
I would say the majority of believers would agree our ultimate transformation will be when we get to Heaven. In December I saw the story of Jesus as transformation in reverse. Why on earth would God robe Himself in flesh and leave Heaven, the place we’re all longing to get to? Why would Jesus subject Himself to depending on the care of broken, human parents as an infant, the painful awkward pre-teen/teen years, the tedious hard work of a carpenter, and the humiliation of crucifixion all to end up back in Heaven where He began anyway? I contend He did it to show us how to live a transforming life, all the while revealing the heart of the Father.
The heart of God has always been mercy and love. Go back through the Old Testament where many say God has an iron fist and is all about judgment, and read it through the lens of love and mercy. I did that this last year and, wow, I was amazed at how many times God had been extending love and mercy over and over where all I had previously seen was punishment. Yes, there were and still are consequences to our behavior and to sin, but God’s first response is to extend grace and call us to repentance and a closer relationship with Him. Judgement is His very last resort and, as you can see in the OT, even then He is still asking us to turn back to Him.
When we live out transformation here on earth people are able to watch as God forms us into His image, they are able to see Him at work, even if they don’t understand it is Him. As I mentioned in previous posts, people might not know how to respond to your transformation. They might get angry, or take a step back from your life; they might embrace it full on and desire the same level of transformation in their life. Your job isn’t to manage how people respond, your job is to allow God to be seen through the process. So often we say our goal is to be like Jesus. Here are a few verses to give insight into who Jesus was, what He did and what He tells us to do:
- “The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command…” Hebrews 1:3
- “If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!” John 14:7
- “I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.” John 17:23
- Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” John 8:12
- “But while I am here in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9:5
- “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden…In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14,16
Again, I realize this is not an exhaustive list, I don’t think any human could make an exhaustive list of the character of God, how Jesus reflected it, and how we’re supposed to reflect it, but it does give us a good start.
Don’t be afraid of transformation. He is with us through every phase: hurt, confusion, struggle, growth and triumph, we are able to shine the love of our Father. Jesus already lived it out for us so we know it is possible. No matter what phase you are in, keep your eyes on God, your source of hope (Romans 15:13). I don’t know how it’s possible, but somehow even in the bleakest of circumstances, God is reflected in our lives and the people that encounter us are able to feel that hope and through it His love.