Whatever the year, there is a ‘popular toy’ most children would love to have. I remember when Jon was around 5 years old, the toy he so desperately wanted was a Transformer. At this time, a transformer started out as a car but, with a few twists and turns, it could easily be transformed into a warrior. He loved this toy where one minute he could be pretending he was on a fast car chase and the next, he had transformed it into a might warrior ready to face whatever battle might lie ahead. Transformers were cool and pretty much indestructible!
This led me to thinking about what it might mean to be transformed as a person as opposed to just being changed.
When I looked up the difference between Change and Transformation, the definition given is: Change uses external influences to modify actions, but transformation modifies beliefs, so actions become natural and thereby achieve the desired result. Transformation can affect appearance and character.
So, this suggests that I can be forced to change by the things around me, by the environment I am in, but these ‘changes’ are not necessarily permanent. When I was younger and my family moved to Scotland, I immediately attempted to imitate a Scottish accent so that I would not stand out in the crowd or be singled out as being ‘different’. On returning to England, I dropped the accent as quickly as I learnt it for the same reasons. I can constantly change to adapt in order to fit in. I can revert to my usual self or old habits but does this type of change reflect who I really am or who I might strive to be?
On the other hand, if I am to be transformed, I am more likely to be changed from the inside out. Something in my core being is affected. To me, this highlights the importance of ensuring I am constantly feeding myself from a reliable source; applying what I learn in a practical way; that the changes I make are natural, permanent and become part of who I am.
As Christians, we strive to become more like Christ; to reflect His characteristics and traits. We take everything that happens to us in life as an opportunity to grow stronger and look for what God might be teaching us through it. This doesn’t mean that we won’t find ourselves having to deal with suffering and pain – life sometimes throws us these curve balls! The difference is, that we are never alone. When we are crushed and broken, He is right there with us. It tells us this in Psalm 56:8 “You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book.” Wow!
In these days where so many people are looking for comfort and answers, we need to continue to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus so that we can be transformed day by day. By being transformed, we can discern what is required of us, we can be the hands and feet of Jesus; a reflection of Him to those in need.
I love the translation we find in the Message of Romans 12:1-2
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognise what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”