Let’s talk about butterflies and transformation. Have you had the opportunity to see a butterfly emerge from the cocoon? The Butterfly Center at Callaway Gardens has a special exhibit of butterflies, from the first stage to the exiting butterfly. You can walk around in their world and let them land on your hand or arm. There is also the yearly migration of butterflies through California as winter ends and they head north allowing onlookers to enjoy their beauty and grace. Butterflies add beauty and color to our world and remind us of the importance and necessity of transformation.
We know the process of transformation for a caterpillar, from an immature form to an adult form as a butterfly, is metamorphosis. It’s described as a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means. Seeing this metamorphosis result in beautiful butterflies encourages us to believe for our personal, spiritual transformation wouldn’t you say?
So, how do we get there—to being transformed in our spiritual walk?
A butterfly is transformed from the inside out. That’s where our transformation takes place as our hearts and minds are transformed by God’s grace and love. Paul shares his experience in Philippians 3:13-14 ESV. “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Our spiritual transformation isn’t done on the outside. It starts within. Many good programs aiding people to make changes in their lives center solely on the outside with behavior modification. They’re leaving out the components that will cement a true heart transformation, and that’s where it begins: in the heart.
Did you know your heart can think? Proverbs 23:7 NASB says “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” The heart also believes. Romans 10:9-10 states that when you confess Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart, you are saved—translated from death to life.
The best way for transformation as a believer is to first change your thinking and believing. What follows is renewing your mind in the finished work of Jesus. If we fail in allowing our minds to be renewed in the Word, we become stagnant. If we block our new life with religious traditions and the do’s and don’ts of religious thinking, we won’t grow or see real transformation. There needs to be a change on the inside that reflects on the outside. The more you renew your mind in the truth that you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, the more that truth will change your thoughts and actions.
TRUTH: Remember, the Gospel is the power unto salvation. Romans 1:16 ESV says it plainly, “for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” And as Clint Byars said, changed thinking and transformation describe the working of God’s power in you. You don’t renew your believing to something like new-age hooey. You’re renewing your mind in the complete, finished work of Jesus, in His grace, and what He accomplished and provided for you. So then, as your believing changes, your thinking changes, and what follows is a change in your actions which develops into transformation.
Yes, CHANGE is the 6-letter word describing the process by which you try to become on the outside what you hope you are on the inside as Christy Mitropoulos explains. I like how she also describes transformation: Transformation is the process by which the Spirit of God reveals to you who you are on the inside to the degree that you believe it to be so, and the persuasion of your heart is so complete that you mirror that image on the outside.
Can you see the connection in changed thinking bringing about transformation? Let’s build on this a little more. Clint Byars explains this change isn’t just changing your thoughts. Changed thoughts must change to the degree that it changes the inner image you have of yourself in your heart—your identity, who you believe you are. That’s seeing a new picture of yourself on the inside. You’re not the old you. You’re a new person, a transformed person because Jesus now lives in you. It’s the reality of 2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
APPLICATION: God’s provided new life in Jesus and Paul says this new life and way of living is full of godliness and peace and includes all His blessings. Romans 8:6 NASB says “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” Notice the mind is set, focused on spiritual things, the truth of God’s Word which is alive, full of life, providing peace of heart and mind.
A focused, set mind on Jesus’ provisions will transform you. The more you think about what’s true (from the Word) and get a vision for that truth in your heart, it continues to grow into your life. That’s the operation of Proverbs 23:7; as you think in your heart, so you are. It’s really not hard for transformation to take place in your life when you allow the Word to change your thinking and believing.
It’s time for renewal. It’s time for transformation. Throughout these studies each week we build on the truth of the new life Jesus provides for everyone who believes. It’s time to step beyond where you are right now and move into greater transformation by renewing your mind (spiritual thinking), receiving His finished work for you, and letting the vision of Jesus reflect through you to the world.
Spiritual thinking changes you; and as you change, your choices and actions change, allowing your life to change.
Don’t stay where you are. It’s time for transformation.
Philippians 3:13-14 ESV – “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Make It Practical: I’m moving forward, getting the past, and continuing to press on for the prize of all that God has given me in Jesus Christ. There’s no ahead, and I’m ready to receive it all.
Proverbs 23:7 NASB – “For as he [a man] thinks within himself, so he is.”
Make It Practical: My thoughts tell who I am, so I want my thoughts to be good thoughts. Thoughts of confidence, courage, love, acceptance, not guilt or shame. I will think the same thoughts that God thinks of me.
Romans 10:9-10 ESV– “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”
Make It Practical: I will align my heart to believe Jesus, and continue to strengthen my belief through God’s Word. I will watch what I believe and make sure it lines up with what Jesus has done for me.
Romans 1:16 ESV – “[The Gospel] for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.”
Make It Practical: I have received the salvation of God through Jesus Christ by faith in Him, and I believe; therefore, I will continue to see God’s power working in my life because He loves me.
2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV – “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Make It Practical: No longer am I less than God wants me to be. I am in right standing with Him, and through Jesus I’ll always be righteousness and the apple of His eye.
Romans 8:6 NASB – “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.”
Make It Practical: I determine to set and keep my mind on the Spirit of life and peace that Jesus has provided by God’s grace. I will continue to receive His life and peace as I allow His Word to transform me.
How has Philippians 3:13-14 encouraged you to be renewed/transformed?
In what ways has your thinking—and believing—changed through the Word?
In what area(s) are you needing further change?
How has knowing more about the finished work of Jesus changed and transformed your life?