Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Process of Transformation

Transformation: change in form, appearance, nature, or character.
Most people like the idea of transformation. We like to see our bodies morph from flabby to fit or our houses from clean to dirty or our lives from lazy to disciplined. What we don't like is the effort and work it takes to become transformed. When we think of spiritual transformation most people that I know would prefer for God to snap His fingers so the process is begun and completed in the same instance. While this does happen at times, the normal growth in spiritual transformation is a process that takes God's intervention along with our work and effort and this is where the challenge occurs for many. But let's back up for a minute. TRANSFORMATION IS A PROCESS Transformation is a process that often begins with a question. We can see this initial stage of transforming in people like Zaccheus (Luke 19:1ff). Zaccheus climbed up into a tree because he had a question. He wanted to know who Jesus was. Nicodemus was another person with a question, he wanted to know how one could be born again (John 3). The rich young rulers chance at transformation began when asked what he needed to do to inherit eternal life (Matthew 19:16-25). Moses began to be transformed when he questioned how a bush could be burning with out being consumed by the fire (Exodus 3:1ff). Saul's life began to be transformed when he inquired who it was that caused him to be blinded (Acts 9:1ff). SEEDS OF TRUTH FOR TRANSFORMATION In each of the above examples, the question(s) is answered with a seed of truth. In the case of Zaccheus, he learned that Jesus was the giver of salvation. For Nicodemus he found that being born again is an act of God in the soul of a person. In the case of the rich young ruler he found out that eternal life is gained by dying to yourself and in his case that meant giving up his riches. For Moses the seed of truth was to obey the things God was calling him to do. For Saul the truth was to submit himself to Jesus, whom he was persecuting, and for him to receive the Holy Spirit. In every case of transformation, there must be a seed of truth planted in the life of a person. Mark 4:14 teaches us that the seed is the Word of God. There is no spiritual transformation apart from the truth of the God being planted in our lives. THE COST OF TRANSFORMATION In each of the above illustrations there was a cost for transformation to take place. This is where somethings can become sticky. The cost of transformation is often severe and there are a good number of people who are not willing to pay the price. They would prefer to take the 'blue pill' and 'wake up believing what ever they want' to quote Morpheus in The Matrix. For the rest, transformation occurs when we take the 'red pill' and see just how far the rabbit hole goes. That is a costly proposition that Jesus invites us to. For Zaccheus, it cost him most of his fortune, for Nicodemus, most of his reputation over time. For the rich young ruler, it simply cost too much and we never learn of him entering into the process of having a transformed life. For Moses it cost him his career (shepherd), and forty years of hardship in the wilderness. In the life of Saul/Paul, it cost him his prestige as a Pharisee a life that was often abused and misunderstood (2 Cor. 11:21-33). As we look back on the life of these people today, we certainly agree that their transformation was well worth whatever it cost them. As we look at the lives of our friends who have been through much and transformed much, we would also heartily agree that it is always worth the struggle. This brings me to a vital question; Why then do not many more who want to be transformed by Jesus see it happen in their lives? I'll give you my thoughts next time. What do you think?