Paul tells us not to be conformed to this age, but to be “metamorphoō” by the renewal of our minds. While we usually translate this Greek word as “transformed,” you’re probably already catching the English word metamorphosed in there, which is a word I prefer to use. It’s not that the word “transform” is bad, it’s just not as epic as I wish it was. Indeed, this is the same word used of Jesus’ transfiguration, where his true identity as a spiritual being was revealed for a few of his select disciples to see.
In the modern vernacular, the word transformation can be used of any kind of change, big and small, and therefore the word can feel a bit dull at times. But words like metamorphosis or transfiguration—now those are words that really capture the imagination—like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. Without science, how can we even begin to wrap our minds around such an event? Even with science it’s hard to follow. The thing that went into the cocoon came out the other unrecognizable.
In a sense, that’s what the Christian body is like. Because it has the Holy Spirit inside of it (who is the resurrection life bringer) the seeds of resurrection are already taking root, metamorphosing us into the life that is to come. Sure, we’ll have to liquify in the ground (like a cocoon) before we burst out of it in the next age completely metamorphosed and transfigured into the likeness of Christ, but the Holy Spirit is already metamorphosing us now as we give ourselves over to him.
And one of the ways in which this metamorphosis will be lived out this side of the cocoon is in the renewal of our minds. Because we live in this age rather than the resurrection age to come, it’s very easy to think like the people of this age. But Jesus calls us to think as though we already live in the age to come—he calls us to think like him. For when we think like him, we live like him, and when we live like him, others catch a glimpse of the transfiguration and grow interested in it. When we live out our metamorphosis, a little bit of the resurrection life of Heaven breaks through and the ground below us takes on the seeds of resurrection. If we do not renew our minds, people will catch a glimpse of hypocrisy—people who claim to be beautiful butterflies but appear more like moths.
Think everything Jesus: family, friends, work, politics, play, and even yourself; for when we think of ourselves in un-Jesus like ways, we create space for other spirits to take root and try to keep our thinking and actions stuck in this age. Work hard to listen only to the Holy Spirit and let him metamorphose/transfigure/transform your thinking into his in every conceivable way.
*This devotional was created out of the themes of Romans 12:1-8 found in today’s reading at CommonPrayer.net. Below are the various AI-created pictures I typed into existence via Mid Journey to mock up artwork for today’s post.