We’re desperate for change. Wouldn’t it have been wonderful to wake up on January 1stand be transformed? In the bleak dark winter, we nurture a warm hope deep in our souls. Change. Newness. Metamorphosis. What most of us realize about change is that it’s not about a day so much as it is about the heart.
If 2018 was particularly taxing, especially in parenting, then you understand better than most the desire for everything to be new.
The best place to find hope – for anyone – is in God’s Word. In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul wrote:
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:2
First, let’s observe the word ‘testing’ we all know so well. It feels like every refereeing match between siblings and every pushback of rebellion from a teenager is a test of how you will respond.
Will your words be like hot oil from a frying pan ready to sting your children? Will you ignore sibling fights and make them “problem-solve?” In theory, problem-solving is a great idea but without teaching how to problem solve you’ve basically put them in a maze without a map and told them to get out on their own. Or maybe just this once you’ll respond in patience, but can you always count on yourself to always do that?
We also see the word ‘transformed’. A word we desperately want to become our reality.
Did you know the Greek word used for ‘transformed’ is μεταμορφουσθε (metamorphousthe)? Can you see our word ‘metamorphosis’ in it?
The Greek form of the verb used here is present tense masculine middle/passive voice, right now that might not mean a thing to you now, but it will in a second. Hang with me.
- Present tense – Using a present tense verb, Paul is saying this verb ‘transform’ is a continual, habitual action. It is on-going.
- Middle/Passive Voice – Using this voice, Paul is saying we cannot accomplish this change ourselves (c.f. Titus 3:5). This is completely a work of the Holy Spirit who is working inside of us.
Praise be to God we can rest assured knowing there is a continual transformation going on inside of us! We can depend on this change!! Parent, right now something is going on inside of you that only the Spirit can do. The question lingering is: If the Spirit is going to change me, why do I still struggle with patience? Or anger? Or self-control?
While the Spirit is ready to work in us we have a responsibility to be ready for that actionable change. Remember, the apostle Peter said, “prepare your minds for actions(1 Pet. 1:13-14)”? We must prepare ourselves for the work of the Spirit. The battle each of us faces is not synchronizing our faith with the world around us – not conforming to its patterns.
Our children come home with some wild ideas. Like the ten-year-old who says, “Mom, everyone else in my class has a phone. I need one too.” We all make choices that conform us to the world rather than stand apart. The battle is in our mind/choices. Thus, prepare your mind for action, for brave choices.
Internal to External
First, ask yourself this question. Does water re-hydrate the body? The obvious answer is, “yes.” It re-hydrates internally to produce a refreshed healthy-looking outer appearance.
God’s Word is water for our parched souls. We prepare our minds by reading God’s Word and in turn make ourselves available to the Holy Spirit’s work of transformation.
God’s Word is alive and active (Heb. 4), His Word revives our souls ( Ps.19:7), His word enlightens our eyes (Ps.19:8), and it is the only source to learn about godly living (2 Tim 3:16, 2 Pet. 1:3-4). Peter also said, “do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. (1 Pet. 1:14)” In order to understand what is evil in God’s eyes is to simultaneously understand what is pure and holy to Him by reading His Word.
Uphill and Victorious
When we bend the spines of our Bibles and take refreshing sips of God’s Word, the Spirit uses this to transform us. Then our inward transformation manifests an outward appearance of change. Our outward change is visible by the choices we make, like applying godly principles to parent bravely.
The Spirit will build courage in us to do things we cannot do in our flesh. He will teach us how to admonish the idle (almost literally means lazy children), encourage the fainthearted (middle school parents know about fainthearted children), help the weak, and live in patience with them all (1 Thess.5:14). Likewise, the Spirit will cultivate appealing fruit for everyone to see (Gal. 5:22).
You can count on the Spirit being an active agent inside you who transforms you from one form to another. Take off the weight you’ve been carrying by thinking it all rests on you. It doesn’t. Don’t give yourself that much credit.
Moreover, you won’t bend in weakness to conform to the world.
The world wants you to parent based on its labels because it’s easier to live a self-deprecating life rather than a life in victory. It will label you “overwhelmed parent”, or “tired parent”, or “busy parent”, or “angry parent”, etc. And not only do we parent based on these labels, but they also excuse us from trying to rise above them! Listen, not every single choice is going to be easy. Saying, “no” to the trends of the world in order to avoid being conformed is hard. But nowhere in the Bible does Jesus say it would easy.
God’s way is different. Yes, there is an uphill battle but it’s full of transformation! It’s full of freedom!
Read As If You’re Dying Of Thirst
We must take an active first step using God’s Word as a lamp to our feet and profess this way of the world is not for us. We will not conform to parenting labels. Likewise, we will parent in the security and assurance of God’s Word for our lives. He has called us to live a certain way, and while the road may be uphill ultimately we know it ends well for us. Through the uphill battle, we are transformed more and more into the likeness of Christ. And as we transform, the choice to avoid conformity becomes easier and easier.
Reading your Bible every day is not hard, but it’s not easy. It requires a desire for God’s Word, a desire for the inner working of the Spirit, and a strong belief that only God can accomplish eternal change in our lives.
2019 could be the year of intensely dramatic transformation, but you have to do your part in order for the Spirit to do His. If you’ve come to that place where the status quo is no longer satisfying and you feel like your soul is a dry desert then read God’s testimony of who He is and His love for you. Take a refreshing sip of God’s active and living Word (Heb. 4:12-13).