"THE GREAT METAMORPHOSIS--BEING TRANSFORMED AS WE SOAR ABOVE OUR TRIALS"
"There is no greater freedom than knowing we are in the will of God."
The Church is the Lord's Body, and what He does, He will do through His Church. If we want to be a part of what God is doing, it is fundamental that we find our part in His body and begin functioning in it.
We must also acknowledge that there are many ways in which the contemporary Church reflects the ways and organizations of this world more than the Kingdom of God. However, the Church is going through a most radical transformation at this time. It is so radical that the only way to describe it is metamorphosis, which we have discussed before, but we need to build on this thought a bit, so I will review it briefly here.
Metamorphosis of the Church and Our Mindsets
Metamorphosis is the process that a caterpillar goes through in the cocoon where it enters as a worm and leaves a beautiful butterfly. The Greek word that is the root of this word "metamorphosis" is the word translated "transformed" in Romans 12:2:
"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect".
A caterpillar is a worm that crawls along the earth, conforming to all of the contours of the earth, but a butterfly soars above the earth. This is the transformation that is needed in us, and as it is specifically stated in this verse, the transformation must take place in our minds by the renewing.
Our minds have what are called "mindsets." A mindset is the setting of our mind so that when a word is spoken, we form a certain, definite impression. For example, when the word "Church" is stated, many have a very definite impression of it. For most of us, the Church is in its caterpillar state—the worm that is still conformed to this world. However, that mindset is about to be changed and renewed. Those who see prophetically already see the Church differently. She is about to become a very Heavenly creature, and those who are still looking for her crawling along the ground may miss her as she soars by overhead.
Mindsets can be good and bad. There are mindsets that we should have about such things as the Scriptures being the Word of God which cannot be changed. However, there are a lot of mindsets which are in fact spiritual strongholds--bondages that need to be broken. These are broken by a transformation that is in fact a metamorphosis, which is a process. I know many people who get revelations, but that is just the beginning of a transformation in our thinking which points us in the right direction. Real transformation is a process that requires faith, patience, endurance and focus.
Metamorphosis requires going into a cocoon, which is very confining. Even after the transformation has taken place, the cocoon is very hard to break out of. In fact, breaking out of the cocoon is often the greatest struggle a butterfly will ever go through. However, if it were not for this great struggle, which strengthens the butterfly's wings, it would not be able to flap those big wings and fly.
It is noteworthy that Paul was, "strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, ''Through many tribulations we must enter the Kingdom of God'" (Acts 14:22). The mindset that many believers have today would make that message anything but "strengthening" and "encouraging," but for the spiritually mature--it is. The Greek word "tribulations" basically means "pressures" such as the confining pressures of the cocoon. We are strengthened through those constrictions and pressures that the Lord allows to come upon us so that we will be able to soar above this world. Those who want to avoid these trials will be confined as worms to the earth.
There are many Christians who have stayed on the course, making the most of their trials, and they will soar high above the earth. There are many Christians who have not had the wisdom or maturity to do this, and they will always crawl. This is a demarcation which will become increasingly striking in the times ahead. Shortly after that, all Christians will be soaring because those who have not been transformed will not be able to remain Christians.
When the Lord was asked about the signs of the end of the age, He replied, "Woe...to those who nurse babes in those days" (see Matthew 24:19). I would translate this as, "Woe to those who have kept their people in immaturity." For this reason, Romans 12:1-2 is critical for us to hear:
"I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect".
Not Conformed to this World
To present our bodies to the Lord as living and holy sacrifices is our spiritual service and worship. The body is the temple of the Lord, and as Paul wrote to the Corinthians, if we continue to defile it, we can expect it to be destroyed. The sins of the body have consequences that will destroy the body. That should be motivation enough, but a higher motivation is a love for God so great, that we want to please Him in all things.
We must resolve not to be conformed to this world. If we do not care more about what God thinks of us than what people think of us, then we are not worthy to be His bride. That is why Paul said in Galatians 1:10, "If I were still seeking to please men I would not be a bond-servant of Christ." The degree to which we are ruled by the compulsion to please men, to be acceptable to men, is the degree to which we will have departed from our service to Christ.
As the Lord Jesus Himself stated in John 5:44, "How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another, and you do not seek the glory that is from the One and only God?" The answer of course is that we cannot believe and have true faith if we are still seeking the glory of men. The word for "glory" in this verse could have been translated "recognition." Our minds cannot be transformed if we are still conforming to this world by seeking the glory or recognition of men rather than the recognition of God.
However, the great promise in Romans 12:1-2 is that if our minds are transformed, we will be able to "prove what the will of God is." There is no greater freedom than knowing we are in the will of God. This allows us to soar high above any of the conditions or problems of this world. This is how Paul and Silas soared in worship even when they were in a dungeon. No dungeon could hold their spirits. If the things of this world are still holding us down, then we have not been transformed.
It is interesting that during the teenage years, there is more pressure to conform to what is considered "the norm" than probably at any other time of life. This is precisely the time of life when our true identity and purpose should be becoming clear, and this pressure from the world seems to be especially strong at this time to keep it from happening. This is also the time when many yokes of bondage are placed on people that keep them bound their entire lives. When you see a generation breaking out of this, willing to be different, having such vision and focus during these years that they cannot be seduced by the ways of this world, you can be sure the end of this age is near because the Bride is here.
So what about folks that are older? Certainly there will be Joshuas and Calebs from the previous generation, but there is also hope for all who are still alive to be a part. There is a renewing that will renew us. We can become young again. That the Bride is "without spot or wrinkle" (see Ephesians 5:27) speaks of her being pure (without spot), and she does not age (no wrinkles!). We can be made young again in the Lord if we will repent and determine that we will not be conformed to this world, but rather be transformed. If we are still living, it is not too late, but we should not waste another day.
We also need to decide if we are going to let all of the previous wounds and disappointments determine who we are, or if we are going to be like Christ, using the Cross to determine who we are, seizing the opportunity to die to ourselves and rise above this world and live in resurrection power. We cannot be resurrected unless we have first died.
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