Isaiah 43:19 & Galatians 5:16, 22-26
I don't know about you... but I have discovered over the past 8 months, that the word 'transformation', is a seriously big word. When I first realised that my faith was altogether different to the time before my pilgrimage, I started calling my experience a 'transformation in faith'... this is why on LISS Day 25 (Walk in His ways), I do not admit to calling my experiences a 'conversion' right from the start. But looking closely, it was not yet a transformation in faith... because really, the transformation in my faith is happening even as you read this.
Trans is the latin meaning 'cross' as in 'cross-over' or across. Often, I think of the word 'trans' to mean 'change' or 'move'... but 'change' and 'move' are not the same as 'cross-over'. I guess the difference is that you can change or move without there being a sort of threshold. But you cannot 'cross-over' something without there being a threshold. Also change and move doesn't necessarily imply that there is 'another side', whereas 'across' does. A prime example of 'trans' applied today is in our own existence. Right now, God has created us to be human, and the threshold of our human existence is our death, in which we cross over to eternal life.
The word 'form' has many meanings. But I will focus on the ones which apply also as a whole word of 'formation'.
- The shape and structure of an object
- The particular mode, appearance, etc., in which a thing or person manifests (becomes noticeable) itself
- Physical or mental condition
"I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect." [Romans 12:1-2]. I do not ask readers to quote me on this - I'm neither educated in holy things, nor am I gifted with much of an academic mind. Instead, I simply share with you my thoughts, which I try to make sense of with a little help from above.
So the appropriate condition for us is to become a 'living sacrifice' that we offer to God. That is our optimum condition. How do we reach this optimum condition? We shape ourselves (always through the Holy Spirit!) to become a living sacrifice by 'discerning what is the will of God'. In prayer and obedience, we develop shape and structure to our lives... prioritising God above ourselves for example. How does this become noticeable (manifest)? 'We do not conform ourselves to this age'. In fact, through transformation, the mind is renewed... our whole outlook on life (society in particular) completely changes. We understand the true value of life, and understand that each soul belongs to God... it's a matter of choosing to accept and believe that - a concept less alien to us when we have 'crossed over'. We cross-over when 'we offer ourselves as living sacrifice' 'by the mercies of God'... who is three persons in one Trinity. This is not something we do on our own - that is not possible! In the Love of God the Father, the salvation that is Christ Jesus and the eternal divine presence that is the Holy Spirit, we open ourselves to be transformed. And perhaps the best ways to achieve this are in prayer, silence, and service/witness.
Obviously transformation is about much more than this - because it is the point at which the threshold is crossed, a new heart is given from above, a new life in the Spirit is bestowed... so our existence - everything we do, say, become, is all part of offering ourselves as a living sacrifice. How do we fulfill the role of the new person God has transformed us into becoming? Well... that is something that we all must pray about in our own prayers :)
I can tell you something about being transformed though... and that is that never in my life before, had I ever been so sorry for all the wrongs I have done, any hurt I have caused, any selfishness I have garnered, any sin I have caused others to commit because I put myself before them. I would not have recognised this if it were not for the Holy Spirit.
O my God, because You are so good, I'm so very sorry from the depths of my body, soul and spirit, that I have sinned against You. With your grace, and by Your Will, I beg to become the person you created me to be, the person you have transformed me to become in the future. I live for Your Presence in the present, shaping me to become Your servant and living sacrifice... but I cannot do it on my own. I offer you myself and follow Your path to Goodness.