Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Metamorphoo? Is That a Swear Word?


The first time [I remember] that I gave my testimony was for Grade 12 English class. I don’t remember why or how it fit with the assignment but I do remember the absolute conviction I had when I shared a particular Bible verse. It was the crux of what was relevant to me at the time.

Romans 12:2, Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.

I admit, in my naivety I thought once I made the decision it was as good as done. No one could characterize me as wishy-washy about anything I do. Either I’m all in or I’m out. It’s kind of like someone’s preference for olives – either you like them or you don’t. No one is on the fence about olives*. You can imagine how frustrating it was when I realized there was still incongruence in what I was supposed to be and what I actually was and the older I am in the Lord, the more I realize transformation is not a one-time event but an on-going, continuous action.

While studying the original Greek language, the word, metamorphoo, means to have a different nature. The syntax of the language Paul uses suggests it is a continuous action, but not only that – it’s not a suggestion but a command. We are commanded to be transformed. It’s great for someone who loves challenges but unfortunately it’s a challenge we can’t overcome.  

Who, by sheer determination, can become a completely different than what they are? Metamorphoo means to change what is essential about us – that which makes you, you. Insanity has been defined by doing the same things and expecting a different result. Attempting to transform ourselves is similar. It’s frustrating and will eventually lead to despair for the one who strives to obey the command.

What’s the solution? (I’m glad you asked because I have some thoughts on it.)

The good news is the word is also in imperative form, which means it is the work of someone else, and we are the recipient. In other words, the Holy Spirit is at work in us to transform us [into the likeness of Christ, as Paul writes in Galatians 4:19]. This is a possibility because as per Romans 12:1, we have already made ourselves a living sacrifice as a form of worship.

Metamorphoo shows up 4 times in the Bible: Romans 12:2, Galatians 4:19, Matthew 17:2 and Mark 9:2. Paul uses the word in Romans and Galatians in relation to the Saints but the gospel writers translate the word as transfigured Jesus is the recipient of the action. Isn’t it shocking that Jesus needed to be transformed? If he was transfigured, how much more so do we?

It’s also interesting (at least to me) to note first the gospel writers mention Jesus’ metamorphoo, and then Paul writes later that Christ is metamorphoo in us. And all because we’ve given ourselves as a living sacrifice and have made a choice to turn from the prince of this world to the Holy One of heaven. How is it being accomplished and what’s the purpose? These questions (and more) are scattered throughout my thoughts and I’ll be writing more about it, using metamorphoo was a jumping off point.

Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year! May you be abundantly blessed!

*I dislike 3 foods: olives, eggplant and salmon.

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