Metamorphosis is about change….
Webster’s dictionary says “Metamorphosis is a striking alteration in appearance, character, or circumstances”
One day, a little girl is sitting and watching her mother brush her hair. She suddenly notices that her mother has several strands of white hair sticking out in contrast to her darker hair. She looks at her mother and asks: “Why are some of your hairs white, Mom?”
Her mother tells her, “Well, every time that you do something wrong and make me cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turn white.”
The little girl thought about this revelation for a while and then asked: “Mom, is that why all of grandma’s hairs are white?”
Webster also says that Metamorphosis is a “change of physical form, structure, or substance especially by supernatural means”… HMMMM let me say that again “especially by supernatural means”… Many animals and insects experience change but caterpillars and tadpoles experience radical change…. When a caterpillar enters the cocoon, it’s body liquifies into a gel, and out of the gel comes legs, an exo-skeleton, wings, and a different mouth for a different diet. The butterfly that emerges is totally different than the creature that went in, but the caterpillar doesn’t change its destiny. Metamorphosis only reveals what was always there in the genes of the caterpillar.
Caterpillars can’t fly. But they were born to fly. Caterpillars eat leaves but they were born to eat nectar.
When the caterpillar is changed into a butterfly, it is only becoming what God always intended it to be. Tadpoles were always meant to be frogs….Tadpoles breath water with gills, frogs breath air with lungs… Tadpoles eat pond algae, frogs eat insects… Tadpoles have no legs, frogs have 4 legs.
The call of metamorphosis is within all of us….If you have been hearing a call deep inside that there is more, that’s your Metamorphosis calling to you!!!! It’s God calling you to what you were always meant to be, regardless of what it looks like right now….
We want radical miracles, radical revival, radical visitations of God’s power, radical healings and people radically saved… but we want to avoid radical changes which bring those experiences about….
1 Corinthians 2:16 “For, who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ”. That’s an amazing statement—that we who know Jesus as Lord and Savior have the “mind of Christ” within us. In this context it means that we have the ability to estimate the true value of things. To discern and know that whichcannot be seen and known with the natural mind.
In the art world, there are certain people who are fulltime appraisers. They can look at a painting and say, “That’s a forgery. It’s worthless.” Or “That’s worth $70,000 at auction.” Or “That’s a Rembrandt. It will fetch at least $7 million dollars.” Appraisers are well paid because they have the ability to spot the real value of a piece of art or an antique.
I don’t have that ability. I can look at a painting for hours and never know that it is a forgery by Joe Shmuck or a Rembrandt. But it’s exciting when you learn that something you have is priceless.
That’s why the PBS program “Antiques Roadshow” has become so popular. Every episode features someone who bought a lamp or an old trunk or a painting at a flea market for $40 only to discover that it’s really worth $70,000. We watch the show and then we go rummage through our garage or attic, hoping to find that valuable piece of junk we almost threw away last week. We watch because we believe it is possible for anyone to have that experience.
Many folks do a number of things to change. Work out at the gym, Crash diets, plastic surgery, new hairdos, new clothes, a new job, or moving to a different part of the country. In truth, all of those things, just change the outside covering.
But no matter how hard you try, it’s amazing how some people can complement you and insult you at the same time. Recently, when one lady greeted her coworker, she said, “My, You look so good, I didn’t recognize you.”….(Did I look that bad before)HUMMMMM…(what was that supposed to mean) Not everyone is going to like the change in you, but you didn’t do it for them anyway!
You may remember some time ago, I shared about a man who was selling an old warehouse, and it really applies here…. The building had been empty for months and needed repairs. Gangs had damaged the doors, smashed the windows, and thrown trash everywhere.
As he showed a prospective buyer the property, The man was sure to say that he would replace the broken windows, bring in a crew to correct any structural damage, and clean out all the garbage.
The buyer surprised him by saying “Forget about the repairs,When I buy this place, I’m going to tear down everything that is here and build something completely different. I don’t want the building, I want the property rights.
Peter had a transformative moment when He had an AHAAAAA moment as his eyes were opened to see who Jesus was….
Matthew 16:17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by My Father in heaven. v18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock (of revelation) I will build My church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. v19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”…
Compared with the renovation God has in mind, our efforts to improve our own lives are as trivial as sweeping a warehouse that is slated for the wrecking ball. Spiritual transformation begins by giving God the property rights to build what He sees that should be there. Jesus was saying that He was going to build something in the earth that was not of the earth. It would be a supernatural movement which occupied the lives of believers everywhere. A supernatural butterfly would emerge from these caterpillar disciples….
When we submit to God, the old life is over, He makes all things new. All he wants is the site and the permission to begin building.
Dr. Aletta Bell, was a missionary doctor who served for decades in the poorest province of India. When she was a medical student, she felt the call of God to spend her life in a distant land, serving at Duncan Hospital in Raxaul, on the India-Nepal border. It was the stirring of her metamorphosis. She was amazingly gifted both as a medical doctor and as a gifted leader. She could have had a practice that brought in millions, but instead, she chose an understaffed and under-equipped hospital in a place like India.
The answer to her choice was simple and clear. Dr. Bell appraised the work of God’s Kingdom in India as being of greater value than having a big home, and the luxuries of that position in America. She simply understood that God was calling and she had to go. Dr. Bell lived in a tiny apartment that was really more like a cubicle. She dressed like the Indian women around her, and she ate Indian food just like they did. Each morning she used an electric coil to heat the water for her shower. Over the years she treated thousands and thousands of patients, most of them living in what can only be described as abject poverty, the vast majority of them were Hindus.
Her metamorphosis brought a radical change in her appointed destiny. You see, she knew what the lord had waiting for her, more than she could think, ask or imagine, as she stood before Him and heard him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord forever”… That’s what she lived for, more than anything….
Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (mind of Christ).
The word for conformed in the Greek is “Schema” which is our modern word for “Schematic”….which is a design or diagram of all the parts of something, a car, a boat, a radio or television and how they all fit together and function.
So if someone is working on a TV, but has the wrong schematic, they won’t be able to get very far….
Satan wants to replace God’s schematic for spiritual growth, with a schematic for death and destruction….. Satan has a plan for us that will lead us away from God if we conform to its design. We have to follow a different design and conform to God’s schematicfor transformation.
Going back to what I said about the art appraiser for a moment. You aren’t born with the ability to know the difference between a Rembrandt and a Joe Shmuck original.
To be an appraiser takes years of study and a long apprenticeship, and you have to prove yourself along the way. But if you are gifted and determined, if you are willing to pay the price, you can be “transformed” into an appraiser. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it can happen over time.
The same is true in the spiritual life. We have the “mind of Christ,” which means we have the ability from God to estimate the true value of things in life. As we refuse to allow the world to squeeze us into its mold, we develop the ability to see things as God sees them. This isn’t instant or automatic, but since it is God’s desire, having a transformed mind is within the reach of every believer.
Just as we are conformed to what’s around us, we are transformed by what we immerse ourselves in. Stay in God’ssupernatural cocoon of transformation.
Here’s the equation for transformation… T + HH + GE= ST… That stands for “Time plus Holy Habits plus Godly Encouragement, equals Spiritual Transformation”…. It takes time, and it takes dedication and determination to develop habits and patterns of holiness in our lives and it requires that wedevelop relationships with other Christians who will both encourage us and also hold us accountable.. We need others to help us through our change. It’s easy to get impatient with ourselves and feel we’re making no progress…
A fellow was sitting in one of the chairs provided for men outside the ladies’ fitting room. After 30 minutes and 10 changes of outfits, his wife Miriam came out of the changing room one more time. He was getting very impatient, and he looked at her and immediately said, "Miriam, Oh Yeah, that’s the one, it looks great on you! Get that one." She said, "Honey, this is what I was wearing when we came in."
If we’re patient, men, Little by little we will move from the caterpillars we are to the butterflies God aways intended us to be.
2 Corinthians 5:17 “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away, everything has become new!” I call this The Two-Life Stage of Metamorphosis… You see, when the caterpillar is in the cocoon, it arrives at a place where it is part caterpillar and part butterfly. It is a “Two-Life” (neither fully caterpillar nor fully butterfly)and the butterfly is overwhelming the caterpillar and it begins to look less like a caterpillar and more and more like a butterfly, but the caterpillar keeps trying to rise up and assert itself!
Paul talks about this Romans 7:24 “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of flesh? v25 Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I serve the law of God, but with my flesh I struggle with fleshly desires”.… (the caterpillar)
This Two-Life struggle is because our flesh (the caterpillar part of us) is not saved. It houses a redeemed soul and spirit, but it must be crucified, subjected, ruled over, overcome and dominated by our redeemed spirit. One day it will be taken off and laid aside. This is also true of the carnal or fleshly mind. It must be trained by the word, and by the mind of the Spirit. It’s about trust, because we trust that He knows how it will be when the metamorphosis is complete, and if He already knows, we can relax and stop the struggle.
The ultimate aim is transformation, but there is a process which requires dedication. In this journey of transformation, Satan takes advantage of the Two-Life stage, to insert guilt, condemnation and shame. If we don’t understand his tactics, we will give him an advantage and, believe me, he will take it, and hinder our spiritual growth and metamorphosis. The decisions we are making now, will shape the future we will have 10, 20 or 30 years down the road. Change is a challenge, but if we could see what He sees ahead for us, we would gladly make whatever change He asks!
After one guy heard a sermon on Psalm 52:3-4 about dishonesty, he was convicted and wrote the IRS, a note that said “I can’t sleep knowing that I have cheated on my income tax. Enclosed is a check for $150.00 If I still can’t sleep, I’ll send the rest of what I owe.”
Butterflies and frogs have no choice. Metamorphosis is built into their DNA and just takes over. But spiritual metamorphosis isn’t automatic. It doesn’t just happen to us. It is the result of cooperation and conformity with God’s Spirit working in and through us.
I was talking to a woman last week who had gone through her own version of metamorphosis. She told me she had two knee replacements, a hip replacement, and a shoulder replacement. These days, you can have all kind of things stretched, pulled, pinched, tucked, tweaked, replaced, enhanced, suctioned and peeled. I thought, wouldn’t it be great, to just take your brain, when you get to 70 or 80 and drop it in a new 30 year old body and just keep on trucking! It would certainly improve my golf game, and I would be outrunning Dara Arnold in the marathon.
Romans 12:1-2 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. This is your true and proper worship. v2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and prove what God's good, pleasing and perfect will is”. You could actually look at this scripture as a transformation schematic.
First this tells us to give over control of our body as an offering to honor God…. My professor in Bible College used to say, “The problem with living sacrifices is that they keep crawling off the altar.” We must move beyond surrender to submission. You see when I surrender, I’m in control, because it is still my choice. With submission, it is the Lord’s choice and I simply obey. I surrender if I agree, but I submit, even when I don’t agree. That is a critical part of real spiritual metamorphosis.
Second, it tells us to Resist the Squeeze…. Don’t let the world squeeze you into it’s mold. If I submit my body and my thought life, then He decides who I am with, where I go, and what I do. We want to be used by God but we still want the option to choose. Young people say they want to be different, but they end up different like everyone else!!!
Behavioral scientist wanted to test conformity. They started with a group of five monkeys in an enclosure, hung bananas at the top and placed ropes for easy access to it. Whenever one of the monkeys started up the rope, they were all sprayed with ice cold water until the one at the ladder retreated. This was done every time one of the monkeys started up the ladder, soon, the rest of the group would attack and punish him. How deeply they had conformed was seen when they continued to react this way even when no water was sprayed.
Then they replaced one of the original five with a new monkey that didn’t know the conformity code, he started up the rope and was immediately punished by the other four. Eventually he stopped trying to reach the bananas and just conformed. (don’t be a monkey and conform, instead be transformed)
Third, Romans tells us It’s time to remodel your brain…
“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind”.
The New Living Translation; “…Be transformed by changing the way you think”….. J.B. Phillips’ translation … “let God remold your mind”
One of the Greek words for renewing your mind, is “renovate”…. Paul is talking about a complete renovation. This is not about cosmetic repairs or restoration. It’s like taking a house and completely gutting it. Walls, floors, wiring, plumbing, cabinets, bath and kitchen fixtures, roof, it’s all completely new. Anyone who’d seen the house in its previous condition wouldn’t even recognize it. This is about changing the value of what is renovated. God sees our value and He knows how to renovate our minds to maximize our value.. it’s all a matter of trust that the one who made us knows us best!
For anyone who says, I can’t do it, I’ve tried, and I just get so far and then I hit the wall…. I can only say to anyone who says I can’t… Do you know all there is to know about everything…. If you don’t, then you can’t say I can’t, because the one who knows all there is about everything, says “all things are possible if you can believe”
What if we could take a part of our life that we didn’t particularly care for and have it erased? Wouldn’t that be great? I mean there are things in my life that I would just as soon had never happened. And that is exactly what God does when you enter into that life-changing decision. All the old stuff of your life, all the things you wish would go away and never happen…It is gone, He doesn’t just forget it… it’s as if it never occurred… and as far as He is concerned it never did.
What a great launch He gives us into this transformation….Listen, if you’re getting hit by guilt, condemnation, and shame, you’re just in your Two-Life stage… Trust Him, the butterfly is overtaking the caterpillar and soon there will only be the butterfly and transformation is where you will be standing!!!Standing in health, standing in sufficiency, standing in freedom, and standing in peace and security!
The ultimate transformation is just ahead… Infinity and beyond isn’t just a Gordon Lightyear thing! When we see Him, we shall be like Him.. This mortal shall put on immortality, this corrupt body shall put on incorruption. We shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye. Whatever it takes to reach that ultimate point of radical metamorphosis, IT WILL BE WORTH IT ALL!!! To rule and reign with Christ forever, Streets of Gold, mansions beyond imagination, Glorified bodies…. He that endures shall inherit all things…. TRANSFORMATION is preparing the way for metamorphosis !!! Beyond what we can think, ask or imagine!!!
Move on from surrender, where you are choosing, and get over into submission, where He does the choosing!