Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (1Jo 3:2 KJV)
A few years ago I prayed, “Father, make me like your Son, only doing those things I see you doing and speaking those things I hear you saying.” I had just enough time to think to myself, “Man! That was sure a righteous prayer!” To this He replied, “No, my son, that is only the starting point!”
So many of us want to walk as Jesus walked on this earth, doing good, healing the sick and speaking great words of wisdom from God. But this is where success is found… only doing and saying what He desires to do and say through us. BUT here is the test… are we willing to learn obedience the way Jesus had to learn it? Jesus learned obedience by the things which He suffered (Hebrews 5:8). Many want to be spiritual, but few want to pay the price that is attached to true spirituality in Christ. After praying this prayer I went into a time of suffering and isolation. I learned that I had to suffer many of the same things Jesus did and often at the hand of religious Christians! Isaiah 53 became my life story; a root out of dry ground with nothing about me that men would desired, despised, rejected, cut off from fellowship and friends and judged by others as being under the judgment of God. Yes, “to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?” Who, indeed? Just how bad do any of us want to have Christ revealed in us?
You see, to get to this point of being totally tuned into and obedient to our Father takes a total transformation. The flesh profits nothing. We first have to come to realize that there is no good thing in us and seek HIS resolution to the problem. This word, transformation is packed with meaning. Have you seen the movie, “Metamorphosis”? I recently watched it with a brother in Christ from Canada who came to our home and he brought it with him. It is a documentary about what takes place in a the life-cycle of a butterfly and part of what I am writing here, he shared with me. It was a special time together in Christ.
For years it has been a mystery how that lowly worm, the caterpillar, was transformed (Greek – metamorpho) into a butterfly in that hard, ugly chrysalis. Then some scientists did an MRI of one of them while it went through this process. It seems that the worm, while in the chrysalis, completely dissolves and none of the original legs, organs, digestive track, etc. remains. Then there are some small cell packages in what’s left that take that “worm soup” and reform it into the organs that are common only to the butterfly. The worm does not change himself but rather he gives up his life so that a new and more glorious life might spring forth from what was once the old. He has to lose his old identity completely for this to happen. The whole thing is a miracle and it is a living parable of what God desires to do with each of us. Paul wrote about this process saying,
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed [metamorpho] by the renewing of your mind [literally, a whole new mind], that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom 12:1-2 KJ2000).
There is no comparison of the caterpillar to the butterfly. Once, the worm had a gut that digested leaves, but the butterfly now eats and digests nectar from flowers with a new digestive track. Once the worm had stubby little legs that were made to grasp leaves, now the butterfly has long articulated legs made to grasp flowers. Once the worm had no eyes, but now the butterfly has compound eyes that see everything around it. Once the worm had no proboscis, but now the butterfly has a long one that can reach the bottom of the deepest flower. Once the worm was confined to the branch it was hatched on, now the butterfly, like the Monarch, can fly for thousands of miles and with his new mind and know exactly how to get to where he is supposed to be. And who can deny the beauty of the butterfly? There is no comparison of its form to the former worm.
As we progress in Christ we, like the butterfly larva, become a “living sacrifice” that goes into a total dormant state for a season (some call it a time of deep trials, darkness or wilderness) while we trade one life form for another. We are being transformed from lowly worms into beautiful spiritual butterflies that we might “mount up with wings as eagles” and rest on and move with the winds of the Spirit. This is what obedience is — resting in the Spirit in our new lives not striving as a worm to do what only a butterfly can do. Paul described this process this way,
For we who live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. (2Co 4:11 KJ2000)
Did you know that even Jesus went through a metamorphosis right before the eyes of his disciples?
And after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and brought them up into a high mountain apart, And was transfigured [metamorpho] before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his clothing was white as the light. (Mat 17:1-2 KJ2000)
You see, Jesus is the pattern Son. God sent Him into the world to show us the path of true righteousness and then to empower us by the gift of His Spirit abiding in us to carry it out. ALL things necessary for salvation, justification, righteousness and our glorification are ours as we abide IN Christ and submit ourselves to this process. This revelation should give scope to what Paul wrote in Romans chapter eight…
For the earnest expectation of the creation waits for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who has subjected the same in hope, Because the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God… but ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, that is, the redemption of our body… Likewise the Spirit also helps our weakness… And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (Rom 8:19-32 KJ2000)
Remember how I wrote above that the worm was dissolved inside the chrysalis? Now look at what Paul wrote to the Corinthians…
For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven… Now he that has made us for the same thing is God, who also has given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. (2Co 5:1-5 KJ2000)
This transformation process that the saints of God must go through was a mystery down through the ages. It was hidden though the prophets desired to understand what God would do to change us. How would God ever get sinful men and women to become His sons and daughters? It was not done through the keeping of the law because the law was weak because of our sinful flesh (See Romans 8:3). No, it was done by the cross of Christ and the imparting into us of His resurrection life.
Even the mystery which has been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: (Col 1:26-27 KJ2000)
Just as our suffering starts in this lifetime, so does our transformation, our metamorphosis, and herein is the glory of God seen among His sons and daughters for he submits us to this process in hope. Jesus Christ, the First-born Son of God, is our hope and our glory in all things pertaining to life as we abide IN Him.
Amen. Even so, Come Lord Jesus… in us all.