January is over and the messages of false, commercialized transformation have begun to subside. At the beginning of the month, we were bombarded with messages of how we should transform our bodies, our minds, and our perspectives. The new year means a new you after all.
What if we looked at transformation in a new light? What if we set aside time to allow God to transform us into the image of Christ?
According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of transformation is: “a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance.” According to Wikipedia, spiritual transformation is “a fundamental change in a person’s sacred or spiritual life.”
I know what it is like to be transformed by Christ. About eight years ago, I accepted Jesus into my heart. Since then, my faith journey has not been perfect but God has certainly been working in my life. He took me from a place of desperation to hope. I was in a bad place and was making a lot of bad decisions. I was so self-absorbed that I didn’t see how my selfish actions were affecting others – especially my family. In that place of brokenness and weakness, I surrendered to God.
Brokenness Before God
Have you ever been there? Defeated and broken down. Lost and without hope. There seems to be nowhere else to turn.
I remember praying diligently one night for God to intervene in my life. At that time, I had not been walking with the Lord. But I was at the end of my rope and had nowhere else to turn. I approached God and said something along the lines of “God help me, I am broken and lost. I desperately need you.”
The crazy thing is that He answered my prayers in ways I didn’t even think possible. He took me out of my comfortable life and into a third world country so I could see the real struggles in life. I had to give my life to Him.
My life was forever changed. Some people questioned whether this was possible. How could someone like me be transformed? When you become a Christian, you take off your old self and are given a new identity. My desires changed to be more like His desires. Every day, God continued to transform me into the image of Christ.
Stories of Transformation
Christ himself was willing to be broken on our behalf. (Isaiah 53:3,5). Jesus suffering on the cross means everything for our transformation as Christians. It can give us hope that there is beauty in brokenness. Our powerlessness and limitations drive us to the feet of Jesus, begging for His mercy. It is in this place that He has the almighty power to transform our hearts.
“Through his brokenness, his most powerless moment, came healing, restoration, and the great outpouring of love and power from the Father. Jesus’ brokenness became our salvation and our eternal being.” (Transformed Into Fire, pp. 138, Judith Hougen).
Transformation is hard. It means we have to be vulnerable and admit defeat. We have to come humbly before God and admit our weaknesses. It is giving up control and allowing Him to do the work in our hearts. Change is hard. We don’t like admitting we are wrong. But there is so much freedom when we come before God and allow Him to transform our hearts. It is there we really know His love and mercy for us.
Bible Verses About Transformation
God works in our brokenness. Yes, even the best of us have some sort of spiritual brokenness. It is a part of being human. God wants us to realize how incapable we are of accomplishing anything on our own so that we learn to depend on Him. Only God has the power to transform hearts. All things become new, completely transformed in Christ. He went to the cross to die for our sins. He died so we might be forgiven and reconciled with the Father. Because of Him, we can be made whole. His power is made perfect in weakness.
I think Judith Hougen says it best in her book Transformed into Fire, “ Paul experiences something extraordinary here (2 Cor. 12:9-10): bragging about his weakness because Jesus’ power is manifested in such places. In light of how we think about weakness – and how weak we really are – we have to ask how it is possible that Paul responded in this way. Paul recognized and rejoiced in something terribly curious – a spiritual connection between weakness and the power of Christ to flow through us.”
Acts 2:38: “Repent,” Peter said to them, “and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
2 Thessalonians 3:5: May the Lord direct your hearts to God’s love and Christ’s endurance.
2 Corinthians 3:18: We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.
Colossians 3:9-10: Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self. You are being renewed in knowledge according to the image of your Creator.
Transformed by the Word of God
This year, transform your heart by the Word of God. Take time to read His Word and search out the promises He has for you. Seek His truth and wisdom in all that you do. God’s Word can transform our hearts and renew our minds from the inside out. And to get your heart and mind right, you have to get into the Word.
You will learn that part of the transformation is admitting our brokenness and weakness. This is not a one and done process. We are in dire need of help. We need a Savior. We need to learn about Him so we can reflect His attitudes, compassion, and love for others.
Transformed by God’s Love
God’s love is radical. It has the power to transform the broken-hearted. His love extends to the hopeless and the lost. God is in the business of showing compassion. Through our brokenness, we are called to draw near to God. Through His love, we are transformed into the person he wants us to be.
“There is no other way to know God except by receiving his love and mercy unconditionally…..God’s love is bigger and better than we were ever told. The truth is, our brokenness is at the heart of kingdom life because the power of Christ is most perfectly expressed within our weakness.” (Transformed Into Fire, pp. 145, Judith Hougen).
When we understand just how powerful God’s love is in our brokenness, we will be able to share that same love with others. We will never be ashamed of our weaknesses and limitations. We accept our brokenness as a blessing so that we can glorify God to others.
Transformed by the Holy Spirit
God transforms the broken-hearted through the Holy Spirit. When we accept Christ in our hearts, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our hearts. The Holy Spirit convicts us and intervenes on our behalf. He guides us, watches over us, and transforms us.
“Jesus speaks of brokenness as an integral part of all aspects of the spiritual life, because brokenness keeps us dependent upon Christ as the one true Source of life and transformation.” (Transformed Into Fire, pp. 135, Judith Hougen).
God’s goal is to transform you more into the image of Christ. When we are transformed by the Holy Spirit, we have new desires. The Holy Spirit helps us to produce good “fruit” – the fruit of the Spirit. We are “clothed” with compassion, love, righteousness, patience, gentleness, and grace.
Transformed by Prayer
Because of Jesus, we have access to the Father. We have an intimate relationship with Him and He wants to hear from us. When we know how great our Father’s love is for us, we will never be afraid to go before Him and allow Him to transform our hearts and minds. We need to ask God to transform our hearts and show us how to walk in His ways. We need to ask Him to change our desires so that they will be aligned with His. When we do, He will change whatever is standing in our way – pride, selfishness, hurt, fear or insecurity.
According to the Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) commentary for 1 John 5:14-15, “the deepest answer to prayer is to know that He hears you, to know this is to have what we have asked Him for. For believers, prayer seeks communion with the Father more than the acquisition of favors or the satisfaction of desires.”
“God, I give my heart and my life to you. I come before you with a humble heart knowing that I have sinned. Lord, I am broken, transform my heart. I am the clay and you are the potter, Lord. I pray that my desires will become your desires. I pray that my heart will be molded more into the image of your Son. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.“
Only God has the power to transform our hearts and minds. Let us be thankful for God’s amazing grace!