Written by Keith Pace, Vice President of Junto Tribe
A few years back my family and I visited a butterfly garden, and this helped me understand a powerful truth found in God’s Word. I was standing in front of a glass case filled with cocoons, and this was called the transformation station. From caterpillars to butterflies this glorious transformation takes place.
What if we started to believe that this is possible for us? What if we started to believe that if we are in Christ that we really are new creations? What if we started to believe that we are sons and daughters of the Creator of the universe, in right relationship with our Father, fully loved, fully alive, fully forgiven, empowered to live a life for His glory?
Religion has taught us that we are still those dirty rotten worms and that is all we will ever be. The truth is He has made all things new. Like the caterpillar being transformed into the butterfly, He has transformed us and is transforming us.
In his Word, He tells us that we will be transformed by the renewing of our minds. If we look at the original meaning of that word transformed, we will see that it means metamorphosis. The exact same word used to describe the process of caterpillars being changed into butterflies.
You may be thinking, “this sounds great, but this is not my experience.” You have probably been taught that you are just a sinner and you continually stay in God’s dog house because you don’t measure up. You have tried to change but found it to be impossible.
True transformation begins with a proper understanding of our identity. The truth is after we have received Jesus as Lord and Savior, our identity changes. We are no longer separated from our heavenly Father but rather reconciled to the Father. Jesus took on all our sin and we are declared righteous. This means we are right with God. We are now sons and daughters. He gives us a new heart that has His law written on it. He gives us the mind of Christ. He says that we are now partakers of the divine nature. He says that we are now dead to sin and alive to God. He says that our old man was crucified and buried with Christ and we were resurrected in Christ as new creations. This is our starting point! We are now the temple of the Holy Spirit and the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead fills us. Jesus is in us. We are not separated!
Once we have a proper belief about our identity, we start to see transformation from the inside out. We can go to the gym several times a week and look at ourselves in the mirror and not see any change, but we can trust the process. With a healthy diet coupled with the habit of exercise, we will see physical transformation over time. The Holy Spirit is our personal trainer and He is training us to be image-bearers of Jesus in culture.
I recently discovered, after months of symptoms, that dairy does not agree with me. I eliminated it out of my diet and felt like a new person. In the same way, the Holy Spirit will change our diets so that we are getting built up in the ways of the Kingdom. A sinful lifestyle is not compatible with a man of God. We approach His Word not as a box to check but to encounter Jesus and learn the ways of the Kingdom. His Word will encourage, convict, and challenge us.
We now have access to a superpower called Grace. Grace is His power in us to become who He sees when He looks at us. We need to surround ourselves with other believers on this same journey of transformation. I personally do this weekly with a group of men in an old rustic shed. He is the potter and we are the clay and He is shaping and molding us into His image. Instead of trying to be patient, we can be transformed into the kind of person that is patient. Instead of trying not to be an angry person, we can be transformed into the kind of person that is a peacemaker.
It was said of Michelangelo as He stood before the block of marble that he saw the angel in it and he simply had to chisel it out to set it free. I believe the same is true for us. When trials come in our lives we can trust that they are producing endurance in us and chiseling stuff off us. Our Father is working all things together for our good.
God is the sculptor and He is refining us into His image. We already are fully loved and accepted by Him. This is our starting position. We do not have to earn His approval! We already have it because of Jesus. We simply need to say yes to the process by fully surrendering. He celebrates progress, not perfection.
What will you change in this new year? What lies have you believed about your identity? As a man thinks in his heart so is he. Trust the process as He makes all things new! Let’s let this be the year of transformation!
This blog post is from Junto Tribe Ministries, check out other blog posts over at their website: https://www.juntotribe.com/blog