Pastors, authors, social media influencers are all throwing around the "Transformation" card like its the new candy. Discussing Change, Adjustment, Course Correction, Behavior Modification, improvement, Growth, Renewal and even taking on another exterior.
Are they anything close to the transformation spoken of in Romans 12:1-2? Afterall, what is the spiritual power of transformation?
Is it a kinder and gentler word that is a good buzz word for our generation? Does it jive with progressive Christianity motives, or is it some inflated word for rethinking our lives?
When we are focused on a 2 D existence - transformation is unnecessary - it’s only performance-based; it is diluted and the word itself is stripped of any power. When body is combined with some odd spirit/soul bromance - You hear things like, “I transformed my body eating only catnip”; or, “I transformed my relationship with my boyfriend by throwing out his old wardrobe.” "I transformed my bank account from a leaky pail to a gushing fountain of money."
But in 3D we experience a Spiritual life change that does not fit the performance box.
One of the most perfect short stories ever written, “The Prodigal Son” is dripping with unforgiveness, cynicism and rejection and perhaps transformation. As the group dynamics unfold, we, as an audience, have to come to grips with what it means and how much it takes to change a man.
Like a detective - we need honest answers to our questions and some proof.
Why does the Father run to His Son? Is He naive; does He approve of license; or, is He just living in blind hope that this time His son will figure life out?
What about the older brother - His inheritance?
Father comes out for Him too. C’mon into the party. ... It’s good.
We get swept away by the drama - son vs son with Father helplessly caught in between as the weak, pleading peacekeeper - “Can’t we all just get along and enjoy the party” whine, whine whine.
I’m not buying this as Jesus’ message in the parable.
I’m also not buying it as just a subtle jab at the Pharisees either.
I’m not buying the get off the hook message of blind grace without the final word.
There’s more to this than meets the eye. Because the Spirit goes beyond 2D
I mean just how powerful is the Spirit?
Enough to sustain us through persecution?
Enough to cope with betrayal?
Enough to perform great acts of leadership - in Saul - in David - in Moses - in Joshua, in Jesus, in Peter, in Paul, in Acts
Enough to impact universal laws of language and mass change?
Raise the dead?
But evidently, there is not enough power to change a man’s heart - behavior - personality - actions. At least, not to our satisfaction.
Or are we just not good with transformation - Saul to Paul - Cephas to Peter -
Are we caught up in the - “yeah, we’ll see phase of you’ve got to prove it over time.”
Is an alcoholic still an alcoholic after receiving new life in the Spirit - good enough to be called a child of God - but not good enough for us to call him “that” until WE see the evidence - over time - over a longer time - over pressure - over life changes - when his/her family gets over the pain.
Funny how God can do more than we could ask or think - yet, WE have a higher standard, but isn’t that just SOOOO like us.
It really throws spiritual transformation out the window - because, of course, action in this life - living by the law is so much more real than Spiritual things. (Recognize sarcasm?)
Strange how we can reconcile our standards and minimize the power of transformation.
We see Jesus face-to-face with Zacchaeus promising to pay back 4 times his gain and give away half his wealth - for having met Jesus; we never know if Z is ever greedy again, but I bet we believe meeting Jesus probably wore off.
Legion, the diseased, mental patient in the tombs, meets Jesus and is transformed and returned to his family.
The woman at the well, and the woman caught in adultery, receive Jesus and are told to sin no more, do we believe that is likely - or yes, they are changed, “Come and see this man who has told me my life!”
Peter, Paul, the disciples who gave up their lives to be hunted, persecuted, banished, reviled, and executed in the face of the enemy - just the same infighting group of social misfits that landed with Jesus?
We have some messed up theology when we think we are seeing spiritual truth and what we are seeing is worldly expectations. Stuck in our own judgment, we dismiss the power of God’s grace and the magnitude of the Holy Spirit’s power to alter our lives.
Show me your hands - let me put my hand in his side, then I’ll believe! Eh, Thomas?
We need to rethink the power, authority and promises of the Almighty!!!