Thursday, May 03, 2007

Have You Been "Transformed"?

I found something interesting in studying the Greek word for "transformed" as found in Romans 12:2. We are called to be "transformed" by the renewing of our minds - a familiar passage to many of us church-going types. The Greek word used here has with it the idea of "metamorphosis" - Changing from one thing into something completely different. The old comparison of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly, or a tadpole becoming a frog comes to mind when I think of this term. This kind of transformation happens by the renewing of our minds: God changes us into something completely different! Terms like "born again", and "new creation", come to mind.

Now, if you're like me, you have heard this in some fashion or another before. BUT, I also found out some other interesting things in this study:

1. Did you know that the exact same Greek word is used to describe what happened to Jesus when He was "transfigured"? It is true! The "transformation" God accomplishes in us by His word has the impact of completely changing us as Jesus was changed at the "transfiguration"!

2. If that isn't interesting enough, the term "transformed" appears only one other time in the New Testament (KJV, since that is what the "Strong's Concordance" I used is translating). It is in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15. The NIV translates the term as "masquerades" instead of "transformed" when describing the devil and false apostles being "transformed" to appear as messengers of the truth. The Greek term there does mean "transform" as well, BUT it indicates "disguise" or "accomidating to expectations" instead of "changing into something completely different". For this reason, the NIV translation here is probably more accurate in saying the devil "masquerades" as an angel of light, as opposed to "transforms" into an angel of light.

HERE IS THE PART that has me thinking very carefully:

Are we as the church training people to "metamorphoo" (Be changed into something different) by renewing our minds, or are we training them to "metaschematzio" (accomidate to our expectations)?

If we have given them the description of a Christian - Do this, don't do this, wear this, don't wear that, pierce this, don't pierce that, haircuts, tattoos, suits coats, ect... - I belive we may have inadvertantly taught them how to be just like the devil instead of just like Christ. Masquerading as Christians; without a "Renewed Mind".

Can anything change them into something completely different other than the word of God? Could it be possible that the church isn't changing the world because the church isn't changing? Could this explain why most statistics show us that moral indicators in the church aren't much different then moral indicators of the rest of the world around us? Could this be why so many church people settle for being "sinners" when the Bible calls us to "be holy in all we do" (1 Peter 1:15)?

I believe that what is happening in our lifestyles reflect what is happening in our hearts. If there is no "transformation" inside, what we try to do for God on the outside will always fail...won't it?

1 comment:

Jen said...

I was transformed (Metamorphoo) when I recommitted my life to Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit a year and a half ago. I didn’t get to this point by people constantly harping on me to get my life back in order. The people that got me to this point were the one’s I saw who LIVED the walk. They were people of integrity. They didn’t get drunk with me on Friday and Saturday nights. They didn’t gossip constantly about how bad so and so was. They were loving, encouraging, happy, and bubbling with life. They had hope. They loved and forgave easily and took an interest in my life. I saw this in others and wanted it in my own life! They trained me to get to a point of transformation.

I used to avidly attend church 5 years prior to recommitting my life to Christ. At this time I didn’t have a whole lot of people in my life who were LIVING the walk. I saw the Metaschematzio examples of Christianity. I would see many of my fellow Christian friends appearing “holy” at church. Outside of church crude joking, gossip, pot smoking, and drinking all were common. And on the other end of the spectrum I had the church friends who were very critical and judgmental. Many people wore masks as they entered church on Sunday. In this situation holiness didn’t appear to be for God and His love, but instead “holiness” was reserved to impress our fellow comrades in the congregation.

I’m not saying now I’m perfect. Being honest and living a life of integrity is a constant fight, and I think this is true for everyone. However, it is something I constantly strive to do. I am always trying to be the “light” into the world—LIVING my walk every day and in every situation. Your actions and lifestyle are what make you stand apart and help draw others towards Christ. Our words mean nothing if we don’t exemplify a transformation (Metamorphoo) in our own lives. How can we train others to be transformed if we don’t have it down ourselves? We can’t.
I hope this comment made sense, and Ryan, I really like the whole BLOG idea!