The world around is conforming to a manmade pattern, but Scripture tells us don’t conform to the pattern of this world; don’t conform transform.
Romans 12:2 NIV Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Transformed…the word brings a smile to my face. The first picture that comes to my mind is that of a dirty, ragged Cinderella. I can picture her pitiful, ash smudged and tear tracked face suddenly grow radiant as she is transformed into a beautiful princess. Can you see it too?
Only a Fairy Tale.
But wait, that’s a fairy tale and fairy tales only exist in storybooks! And besides that, I just described conformity not transformation!!
All she had was new clothes and a great pair of shoes. A new outfit can go a long ways toward making you feel better, but it can’t transform you! Conformity copies and imitates to make you feel accepted, valued and included. Conformity changes the look, the opinion and the appetite to camouflage the darkness inside. It is the enemy of transformation because it is rooted in deception.
Don’t conform, transform.
Conformity is obeying a list of rules. Transformation is inner change that produces an outward change. Transform…transform by renewing your mind.
The word used in Romans 12:2 is metamorphoó, which is closely related to metamorphosis. The butterfly is one of the most amazing illustrations of metamorphosis. In this process the caterpillar is totally transformed into a butterfly.
Just ask any preschooler, that has read “The Hungry Caterpillar”, and they can tell you how the butterfly egg hatches into a hungry caterpillar. They know it eats and eats and eats. And, you know that too if you have ever had caterpillars on a bush at your house. And, because it eats so much, the caterpillar grows very fast. The purpose of this stage is growth.
Are you hungry?
I need to stop here to ask you, “Are you hungry for God’s Word?” If you’re not hungry something is wrong. It’s essential to your growth.
God has more in mind for you than just growth. God’s purpose is greater than just a fat caterpillar. He wants to move this creature to a place where it can be fruitful or reproduce.
Next, the caterpillar spins a sack around its whole body and the pupa stage begins. In the pupa stage of development everything changes; its tissues, its legs, its organs–EVERYTHING. The changes that go on inside the strong sack like covering are mind (Pun intended.) boggling! The caterpillar literally dissolves into a rich fluid. This fluid contains the building blocks that are transformed into one of God’s most beautiful creatures.
We get our English word pupil/student from the word pupa. Just as the pupa stage is the transformation stage for a butterfly, a believer must become a pupil or learner of God’s Word for transformation to take place. Make time in your schedule to be a serious student.
- Wrap yourself in the cocoon of God’s presence and ask Him to guide your thinking and open your understanding.
- Students are looking for more than facts, their goal is wisdom that can be applied.
- Read or listen with an open heart; diligently studying, pondering and assimilating God’s Word.
- Pray over what you are learning.
- Ask God for revelation and inspiration.
- Look for “What is God saying to me?”
- Write it down.
- Ask; “How do I live this out?”
Assimilating and digesting Scripture means that the Bible is more than facts or seeds stored in a jar with the lid screwed on tight that you tuck in the back of your garage. God’s Word are bite sized nuggets that you mix with faith and digest so that it nourishes your mind, spirit and body.
Although the butterfly you see on your bush is probably the same creature that was just recently eating all the leaves off somebodies favorite shrub, you’ll never see a butterfly munching its way across a leaf; because it doesn’t have a mouth that can chew. Its body has six long skinny legs that fold instead of 16 short, stubby ones that it crawled with as a caterpillar. It is totally changed!! Totally.
And God says the same thing about you.
2 Corinthians 5:17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The Old life is gone; a new life has begun!”
It’s more than conforming to a set of rules… It’s Divine Transformation
It is a miraculous transformation that is an ongoing process in the life of a believer to become more and more like Christ.
It is critical that I make sure that I have made one thing clear. The kind of transformation that I am talking about can only take place because you are a child of God. You cannot stick a worm in a cocoon and expect it to transform into a butterfly. God is the transformer! 2 Timothy 3:5 NLT “They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly.”
The butterfly sucks nectar because it is a butterfly, not because it is acting like a butterfly. It is God’s power that makes you a new creature, but you can and should continue to grow in faith and become more like Him—that is a process.
In God’s divine design…
He perfectly equipped the butterfly with everything it needs to live and reproduce in this new stage of life. It needs a proboscis, a party-horn like straw that unfurls to suck the sweet nectar that fuels its flight. The butterfly needs wings to fly from flower to flower tasting the flower with its feet. Some butterflies fly hundreds and thousands of miles to migrate to warmer regions in the winter. On its way back home, it will lay its eggs to begin a new cycle all over again. Reproduction is the purpose of this cycle of its life.
God’s goal and purpose behind transformation
is to make you like Christ.
Colossians 3:10 NLT Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.
Philippians 2:13 NLT For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
Because of the process of transformation, a butterfly has everything it needs for its next assignment; fruitfulness via reproduction. And God has done the same thing for you.
2 Peter 1:3,4
3By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. 4And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires
Big Take Away– Romans 12:2 NIV Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
This article is part of a series on what the Bible says about your thoughts.
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