“Character cannot be developed through ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”
‘Keep the change’…means giving someone the leftovers of what we have. We don’t give the full amount: we give bits and pieces of the full value. Often, just pennies on the dollar, change is something that we often carelessly disregard in our own lives and yet carefully measure in the lives of those around us.
‘Going through the change’…refers to a frustrating experience filled with discomfort, physical and emotional misery. It is the milestone in our life that says we are past our prime and no longer fruit-bearing.
The biblical principle of change is something entirely different.
Romans 12:2 refers to change as the process of transformation. The original Greek word for “transformed” is metamorphoo. It is the same root from which we get the word “metamorphosis.” Its reference is to a profound or complete change in substance, form or character. Simply put, it is the course of becoming something completely different. Being transformed by God (profoundly or completely changed) is not the process of becoming a better or worse version of ourselves. It means that every part and piece is turned into something completely new: something completely different than what we were before.
Take butterflies, for example. I love butterflies. I love their design, their gracefulness, and their process. I love how they remind me that God takes the plain and sometimes unappreciated and makes it breathtaking. There is a lovely spot in my house, by a window to the backyard, where monarchs rest and feed during this time of year. Their beauty is in direct proportion to the struggle they experience in transforming.
Their entire lives lead up to their metamorphosis. Where they are born, what they consume, their period of rest and growth and the struggle to spread their freshly painted wings, all contribute to the resulting strength that gives them flight.
I sometimes wonder if they know what it will take for them to fly when they first enter this world. As humans, we rarely understand that principle. We often exhibit an attitude of complacency and self-centeredness that reflects a core belief that we deserve to fly without first earning our wings. In doing so, we diminish the value of the gifts we’ve been given and the process to which we are intended to apply them.
If you’ve been reading here for any length of time, you know that I believe that grace is one of the most powerful tools we’ve been given to demonstrate who Jesus is to the world around us. Yet, I have to be careful not to water down the value of grace by forgetting what it really is. Grace is, being given what we do not deserve. I didn’t deserve the grace of God. It was not my birthright. It was a gift, given in spite of who I would be and how I would behave.
Understanding the true value of grace gives us an appreciation of our own need for metamorphosis. Only when we accept and apply the gifts we’ve been given can we experience real change in our lives. Only then are we able to thrive (and not just survive) during the process of becoming profoundly different than we once were. Real change is uncomfortable. It stretches us, separates us from the familiar and is sometimes silent and even a little lonely if we let it.
At some point in our journey, we all want to change. We want to be prettier, healthier, wealthier or more successful. We set goals and make plans and attempt to control the process. I can’t help but believe that this is where we get it all wrong. We are only conforming (acting in accord with the prevailing attitude, practices, and standards of the world) and we are called to do something else. We are not the masters of our own transformation. We didn’t ordain or design the process or its completion. I am confident that it is only in yielding to the One who did; to His ways, His thoughts, and His heart that we will be profoundly and completely changed.
Only the artist who designed our wings can teach us how to use them. I don’t know about you, but I desperately want to learn how to fly.