The butterfly is perhaps the most beautiful creature in the insect world. But that beautiful creature that soars with its beautifully colored wings began its life as a caterpillar that crawls along the ground until one day, through a process called metamorphosis, it wrapped itself in a cocoon from which it emerged transformed. Similarly, when we accept Jesus Christ as Savior, we are transformed by the work of the Holy Spirit. In Romans 12:2 (NASB), the apostle Paul begins by writing, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”
The word transformed comes from the Greek verb, metamorphoo, the same word from which we get the word metamorphosis. It’s a word that refers to a radical change in character and nature. Just as the caterpillar is drastically changed from a crawling insect to one that soars on beautiful wings, so we are transformed from our sinful nature to the image of Christ when we accept Him as Savior. But while the process of metamorphosis for the caterpillar is a relatively short one, the process by which we are transformed is a lifetime process.
When we receive Christ as Savior, we are born again and have eternal life. But the process continues from there because God wants to do more in our lives. He wants to make us into the image of His Son. We begin the process conformed to the pattern of the world (Romans 12:2), but when we receive Christ as Savior, through the power of the Holy Spirit, our minds are renewed, with the ultimate goal of being conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29). The Holy Spirit transforms us, enabling us to live a godly life. And He does this so that, as Paul goes on to say in Romans 12:2 (NASB), we “may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Our part in this process of transformation is to resist the pattern of this world. The Passion Translation (TPT) paraphrases Romans 12:2 this way: “Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think.” We do the resisting, but God does the transforming. We are not called to transform ourselves, but to be transformed. That is the work of the Holy Spirit. He will renew our minds, changing the way we think so that we more fully understand the will of God and can translate that understanding into living our lives according to His will. He does this through God’s Word.
Since the Holy Spirit uses the Word to renew our minds and help us to see things from God’s perspective, it is important that we saturate our minds with His thoughts and His ways by reading the Word, by memorizing it, and by meditating on it. We need to hide God’s Word in our hearts as the psalmist says in Psalm 119:11. As we are at the beginning of a new year, what better time to begin doing so?
So, how can we hide the Word in our hearts? We can read the Bible aloud, which allows us to use not just our eyes but also our ears and our mouths to put the Word in our hearts. We can copy key verses on index cards and carry them with us so that we can review them from time to time throughout the day. We can record Scripture and listen to it or use the listening features on apps like the You Version. And we can meditate on the Word and memorize it. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you this year to become more deliberate and more intentional about hiding the Word in your heart as you seek to renew your mind and grow in God’s grace.
Scripture quotations marked NASB are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Scripture quotations marked TPT are from The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017, 2018 by Passion & Fire Ministries, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ThePassionTranslation.com.