In Romans 12:1,2, the Apostle Paul makes a life-changing statement that believers are “transformed by the renewing of our mind.” Though we are saved by faith, the transformation for the Christian takes place as we change the way we think.
That word transformed is the Greek word ‘metamorphou’ from which we get the English word metamorphosis that describes the transformation that takes place when a caterpillar turns into a butterfly.
This transformation is a gradual process for a caterpillar.
First it spins a cocoon and then in the safety of this container, the insect dissolves and the mixture of enzymes reform into a new creature – a butterfly.
The two insects are so different they can no longer eat the same thing because its digestive system has completely changed — one chews on leaves and the other sucks nectar.
Paul says the Christian must undergo a similar transformation. Unfortunately, we can’t spend a few days in a cocoon to complete this change. We are forced to learn on the job.
Further, Paul tells us that this radical transformation takes place as our mind is ‘renewed.’ This happens as we choose to believe what God says about us in His Word, instead of the way we have thought about ourselves for years.
For years, I hated myself. I called myself an idiot and often said it out loud when I did something dumb or stupid.
But is this how God thinks of us?
Consequently, we must willfully change the way we think by choosing to believe our new identity in Christ.
It may be one of the most difficult challenges you ever face.
So often, the feelings we have about ourselves are crutches that we have used for years to define our identity. Sometimes, this former way of thinking is so deeply embedded in us that it feels good when we do it.
I vividly remember the deep struggle that I went through to change my thinking process. One incident, in particular, stands out.
At the time I was working on a magazine, and one particular issue ended up with a typo on the cover. You can put up with a typo just about anywhere else but there.
When someone pointed out the mistake, as it had so often in the past, an overwhelming feeling began to build inside me to call myself stupid and an idiot.
Yes, I had made a dumb mistake, but that didn’t make me stupid.
However, that wasn’t good enough. I was quickly overwhelmed by an urge to punish myself for what I had done. I wanted to say out loud how stupid I was — it was something I had habitually done for years.
At that moment I faced one of the greatest struggles in my life. As these urges welled up inside me, the Holy Spirit came along side me and urged me to instead confess who I was in Christ.
I remember sitting in my car in the parking lot at work, wrestling with these hateful thoughts flooding my mind. Finally after what seemed like hours, I refused to punish myself and instead I believed and confessed who I really was in Christ.
It was the first step in my transformation.