with Jeremy Westcott -
[We] are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another (2Cor 3:18).
We are to be transformed into the image of Jesus. As John the Baptist said, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). He adds to me what is like Him, and He takes away from me what is not like Him.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Rom 12:2).
Transformation (the Greek word is metamorphosis) is a change from one form into another, such as a caterpillar into a butterfly or a tadpole into a frog. It is not something which happens just on the surface. The kind of transformation God requires will affect our spirit, our soul (mind, will and emotions) and our body, right down to DNA level.
Look at the life cycles of the butterfly and the frog:
There are similarities, and one major difference. The tadpole gets to enjoy freedom while he gradually changes, a little at a time. The caterpillar is shut into a cocoon and radically changed, all at once. Some of those cocoons look very pretty, but what goes on inside really isn’t. The caterpillar is dissolved, its DNA is completely deconstructed, turned into mush, and recoded to form a butterfly. The emerging butterfly struggles to escape from the cocoon, but that very struggle produces the strength to overcome and fly.
I know which kind of transformation I would prefer.
Now a tadpole can live only in the water, but a frog is at home both in water and on the land. A caterpillar is earthbound, whilst a butterfly can fly in the air or perch on the ground. As a result of our transformation, we are enabled to operate effectively in the dual realms of heaven and earth.
Visions of a dark cloud
A number of people have seen a dark cloud over us here at Freedom. It is not a warning of something bad about to happen: the dark cloud is like a cocoon, a canopy over us, protecting us and enabling us to operate as a safe haven, a city of refuge, even as we are transformed here ourselves. It is the cloud that surrounds His glory:
…there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain… the Lord descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently (Ex 19:16,18).
We can see our place of transformation as a cloud, as a cocoon, a wilderness, a crucible, a furnace. In all of these it will be our situations, circumstances and relationships that God uses to bring about the result He desires. We may find ourselves asking searching questions. Where am I? Who am I? What am I? Why am I?
When the cloud overshadows, the Spirit is brooding, hovering, resonating: causing us to come into harmony with Him. The vibrating energy of the Holy Spirit causes shaking, realignment atthe very deepest level, and brings us into resonance, into harmony with our identity and destiny as sons. His overshadowing always produces change:
The Spirit of God was moving (hovering, brooding, vibrating) over the face of the waters (Gen 1:2).
The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you…” (Luke 1:35).
Pursuit (the proof of desire)
We can run, we can criticise the fire for being too hot, we can complain that other people are unsympathetic and uncaring. Or we can submit, and allow Him to have His way. Let’s even pursue and embrace the transforming cloud and fire of God’s presence. What is buried deep in us will come to the surface. What is hidden will be revealed. We may feel disoriented; that it is dark, restricted, hot; that we are falling apart (there may be some truth in that). But heat and pressure turn coal into diamonds, and weeds into fertile compost. Our identity as sons is forged in the fires of adversity and challenge.
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:2-4).
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Rom 5:3-5).
We must fight, press in, press on and not give up. We must pursue our inheritance; not being settlers but pioneers. We must also not cave in to pressure to help others out of their cocoon. We can encourage and support, but we must not try to rescue them from their struggle, because it is the struggle that will enable them to fly.
From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force (Matt 11:12).
Ready to move?
God is always moving, and He wants us to chase after Him towards maturity. He makes us uncomfortable where we are: it may be that we find the spiritual techniques and disciplines we have relied on no longer work, that we cannot see or hear as we once did. He is moving us from His presence to His glory.
Are we ready to move when the pillar of fire or cloud moves? He is not where He was; He is not doing things as He was. But His glory and grace depart slowly – in the Old Testament they were unaware that He had left the temple (Ezek 8-11).
God is calling us to transformation because He loves us; calling us ‘deep to deep’ (Ps 42:7) to engage heaven; calling us to a supernatural lifestyle; calling us out of the wilderness into our true inheritance. He wants us living in dual realms so that we can bring His kingdom government from heaven to earth.
Transformation is the only way to maturity, to sonship, and to the true fulfilment of our destiny, which is nothing less than the restoration of the whole universe (Rom 8:19).
I dare you to pray this prayer; I dare you to continue praying it as the heat and pressure build and you engage with the process of change; I dare you not to stop praying it until you are fully transformed into the likeness of Jesus:
Investigate my life, O God,
find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
get a clear picture of what I’m about;
See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong
then guide me on the road to eternal life.
(Psa 139:23-24 (TM))
Search me thoroughly, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.
(Psa 139:23-24 (NASB)).
Related articles by Freedom ARC
- Mercy: God’s Covenant Love
- The Image of Jesus
- Transformation Through Communion
- Declarations For Transformation