Transformation is a wonderful thing. At the same time if we are honest, transformation is also somewhat frightening to think about especially when it involves us. Imagine having a conversation with a caterpillar about how much life is going to change for it once it goes through the metamorphosis process. If the caterpillar were a human being, it would almost certainly be hesitant to go through the process of changing into a butterfly. Our fears too often take over when we look ahead and see any kind of change on the horizon.
In the creative purpose of God, caterpillars are not meant to remain as they are. God intends for them to become butterflies. In God’s plan for us, we are not to remain as we are for our entire lives. God intends for us to grow and transform into the people He desires us to be. Two of the most important passages in Scripture on life transformation are found in Romans 12 and 2 Corinthians 3.
Romans 12:1-2 (ESV) I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
The great British Baptist preacher of the 19th century, Charles Spurgeon, once said that the only way to escape being conformed to this world is to be transformed. The 1984 NIV translation of the beginning of verse 2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world.” This translation captures the very real truth that we are being conformed into the world’s pattern just by living here in this world. The apostle Paul is calling us to repentance in verse 2. To repent is to change one’s mind. We are to stop being conformed to the world by being transformed by the renewing of our mind. Our mind is renewed by reading God’s word and thinking about God’s truth. We are to set our minds on things above (Colossians 3:2), let our minds be governed by God’s Spirit (Romans 8:6), and think about praiseworthy things (Philippians 4:8).
As our minds are transformed, our lives become transformed. We all desperately need this kind of renewal each and every day. Rather than being conformed to the world, we are to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. Becoming like Jesus is the very reason for God’s calling of us (Romans 8:29).
Our purpose as a church is to make disciples of all nations. A disciple is someone who is intentionally following Jesus (Matthew 4:19) and obeying all that He has commanded (Matthew 28:20). A disciple is a learner who imitates his or her master. When we confess with our mouth Jesus is Lord, then we are declaring that He is our master. As disciples then, our purpose is to be like Jesus in how we think and live. A true disciple does not focus just on self but lives in such a way to lead others to become true disciples of Jesus.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (ESV) Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
In this second critical Bible passage on transformation, we learn that it is the work of the Holy Spirit and our active beholding of the glory of the Lord that lead to transformation in our lives. The glory of God is the sum of all of God’s attributes. To behold the Lord’s glory is to worship
the Lord (Romans 12:1 defines our spiritual worship), spend time with the Lord, serve the Lord, and set our minds upon the Lord that our minds might be renewed.
We are so blessed that God has brought James Srodulski to be our executive pastor. In just one month here, his fresh eyes and extensive leadership experience are making an immediate impact among the staff and lay leaders of our church. At the end of August, our ministers got away from the office and spent the day together. At this retreat James shared his observation that our church gives great value to growing in knowledge through information transfer.
We all agreed with him that there is a devotion here among us to learn more from God’s Word. It is good for us to learn more truth, but information transfer is not the same as transformation. Our emphasis and church culture must move past information transfer into life transformation. Life transformation comes from the Holy Spirit working in our lives. Transformation comes from us surrendering to the Lord. Transformation comes from the renewing of our minds and living lives of obedience to all that the Lord Jesus has commanded us to do.
At the minister’s retreat we discussed a simple process to communicate with you that is very similar to our ministry blueprint from May of 2017. Moving forward, all of us are going to hear about this process on a regular basis, which will help you as a congregation understand why we do the things we do as a church. It will also help us experience life transformation, leading us toward our ultimate purpose of why we exist as a church—to glorify God by loving ALL people and making disciples of ALL nations.
Being transformed with you,