Holding to Truth

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The Amazing Process of Transformation as Revealed in the Bible

Butterfly-Transformation-2There’s an amazing process in the Bible called transformation. It’s the experience where God’s children are transformed to be the same as He is in life and in nature.

2 Corinthians 3:18 describes it in this way:

But we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.

As this verse describes, when we behold and reflect the Lord, we are transformed into the same image as He is. It’s a daily process in which we are receiving more of Christ’s life and will eventually be fully transformed into His image.

A very helpful picture of transformation

The lifecycle of a caterpillar helps us to understand this process. A caterpillar starts out as a long, cylindrical-shaped insect that transforms into a beautiful butterfly. It begins it’s life as a caterpillar and grows by eating lots and lots of leaves until eventually it’s ready to create and enter into a cocoon.

When it enters into the cocoon, a marvelous transformation begins to take place. The icky caterpillar starts to transform into a magnificent butterfly. The process takes around 10 days, at which point the caterpillar emerges fully transformed as a brightly colored butterfly and flies away.

This is an excellent picture of the process we believers are in. As we take more of the Lord in by eating and drinking Him in the word and as the Spirit (i.e. eating the leaves) and as pressure is applied on us in our everyday living (i.e. the cocoon), we’re slowly being transformed into the same image as Christ. Eventually, we will be the same as He is in life and nature. Hallelujah for such a wonderful process!

Another helpful picture

There’s another picture that helps us to understand this process of transformation—petrified wood.

Petrified wood starts out as, you guessed it, a piece of wood, that’s transformed over time into a piece of stone. It starts out with the chemical makeup of wood but is changed over time until it has the same makeup as a stone. Here’s how it’s described in an article from Geology.com:

Petrified wood is a fossil. It forms when plant material is buried by sediment and protected from decay by oxygen and organisms. Then, groundwater rich in dissolved solids flows through the sediment replacing the original plant material with silica, calcite, pyrite or another inorganic material such as opal. The result is a fossil of the original woody material that often exhibits preserved details of the bark, wood and cellular structures.

So the wood undergoes a process where it’s transformed into a piece of stone. The process takes place with the wood first being buried in a place free from oxygen and other organisms that cause decay and then with groundwater passing through the wood over a period of time. The flowing of the water over time washes out the organic material and replaces it with inorganic material. Isn’t that incredible?

By most accounts, this process takes place over the course of millions of years (although some say it could take place over a period of a thousand years), but we need to pay attention a key part of the process in order to apply this to our Christian experience.

The transformation takes places as the water flows through the wood, transforming it into a stone.

In the same way that water has to pass through the wood in order to change it into a piece of petrified wood, the Spirit as the living water needs to flow through us in order to transform us into precious stones. This takes place through our being open to the flowing of the Lord’s life as the river of water of life. The more we are open to this river, the more the living water has an opportunity to flow through us, and the more we’re transformed into the Lord’s image.

On the flip side, it’s possible for us to not get transformed because we’re not open to the Lord and we’re not allowing His life to pass through us. He wants to transform us and He’s willing to transform us, but this requires our being open to Him and our drinking of Him as the living water of life.

The Lord Himself is like a pitcher of water, and we’re like a cup. He wants to dispense more and more of His riches into us day by day. But it’s also like we have a lid on our cup that needs to be removed. If we don’t remove the lid, we won’t receive more of the Lord’s life, which means we won’t be transformed.

So how do we remove this lid? Let’s come back to 2 Corinthians 3 and look at verse 16. It says:

But whenever their heart turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

In verse 18 it says that when we behold the Lord face to face we’re transformed into His image, and verse 16 says that when we turn our heart to the Lord, the veil is taken away. This means that in order to behold the Lord face to face, i.e. to experience this process of transformation, we have to turn our heart to the Lord so that the veil over our face is taken away.

If we don’t turn our heart, we’re unable to behold the Lord face to face, and this process of transformation cannot take place; but if we do turn our heart to the Lord, the veil is removed, we behold the Lord face to face, and we’re infused and transfused with more of who He is day by day.

So in this post we learned:

  1. That there is a process in the Bible called transformation. In this process God metabolically transforms us day by day until eventually we’re the same as He is in life and in nature.
  2. A caterpillar changing into a beautiful butterfly is an excellent picture of transformation. We also saw that the caterpillar first eats a lot of leaves before entering into a cocoon and being transformed. In the same way, we need to eat the Lord every day by reading and praying over His word.
  3. Petrified wood is another great example of transformation. In the same way that petrification is the process where a piece of wood is transformed into a stone, transformation is the process where the Lord is transforming us into precious stones.
  4. However, in order to be transformed, we have to be open to the Lord, and we have to turn our hearts to Him. One of the best ways to do this is to offer a simple prayer to the Lord such as this: “Lord Jesus, I turn and open my heart to you. Fill me with more of Yourself today. Dispense more of Your riches into my being. Lord, I’m here to behold and reflect You. Infuse more of Yourself into me right now. Lord, transform me into Your image. Transform my mind, emotion, and will until I’m the same as You are. Amen.”

May we all be those who turn our hearts to the Lord morning by morning. As we turn our hearts to Him and spend time with Him in His word, we’ll be transformed in His life little by little and day by day. May the Lord transform all of us into His image so that we’re the same as He is in life and in nature.

If you enjoyed reading this post, you may also enjoy  “The Transformation of our Soul is a Lifelong Process…” by a God-man in Christ.

Photo credit: Junior Barra

About Joe Putnam

Hi, my name is Joe Putnam. I live in Lubbock, TX, and contribute posts here on Holding to Truth from time to time. Please leave a comment to let us know what you enjoyed from this post. Thanks!

24 Replies

  1. Great summary of transformation! I would say that transformation is the secret and reality of the Christian life. Transformation produces what Christianity is supposed to be. Without it, and one can be a genuine born again believer for years without experiencing much transformation, we misrepresent what Christianity is all about.

    1. Joe Putnam

      Yes, transformation is so critical for the Christian life. Without knowing about this, we lose the purpose and focus of a significant part of our Christian experience.

  2. God created us, redeemed us, and regenerated us so that He could flow through us and transform us. Thank Him for this intention! Thank Him also for providing two helpful pictures in creation. Lord, attract us every day to turn our heart to You.

  3. Very helpful and insightful post. I like the picture of petrified wood. Just as the wood is changed through the flowing of water, we Christians are transformed as the Spirit flows into and through our inward being. As you point out, we simply need to turn our heart to the Lord and open to His transforming work.

    1. Amen. I’ve been really impressed lately that this doesn’t just take place automatically. Just because the Lord wants to transform us doesn’t mean we’re participating in the transformation process. The good news is that we just have to continue turning our heart to the Lord day after day and throughout the day. As we turn and open up to the Lord, we allow His life to flow into us and transform us more and more into His image.

  4. Jude Thaddeus Taylor

    Glad sharing and feeding like this is now coming out via many avenues by the grace of God and hope many shall it find it useful as it should be. Petrified wood is indeed a good illustrations thanks be to God. For as dead in the fresh we need the constant reliving,re-strengthening of the life of Christ through such infilling or saturation leading to our transformation.

    1. Joe Putnam

      Hi Jude, thanks for the comment. We’re really happy to write about these things here at Holding to Truth. We definitely need more infilling and saturation by Christ through the Spirit. I look forward to reading more your comments here at HtT.

  5. Pamela Green

    Hi Joe – your blog is so inspirational. May I have your permission by which I will give you credit to use the image of the petrified wood?

    1. Tom Smith

      Pamela, I’m not sure about a image of petrified wood, but we do have one of a butterfly on this post. I believe any images we use are creative commons or public domain so I believe that you can use it freely if there is no citation identified at the bottom of the post. If there is a creative commons citation, you should copy it as well. Thanks for your interest in Holding to Truth. Since Joe only does an occasional guest post, I’ll just answer for him since I administrate the blog. Thanks again, Tom

  6. I love it, very interesting. I have been reading this blog over times but can’t get enough. I have learnt some few things; It requires our selves i mean the desire to turn our hearts to him and then He comes and begins to transform us unto His image.
    I pray and Hope to turn my heart to Him each time and day and that i may experience this tremedous Hope Glory of God.
    The Lord bless you and continue to lead in this your ministry of Christ.

    1. Tom Smith

      Glad you found this post helpful. Turning our heart to the Lord (2 Cor. 3:16) is our cooperation with God’s transforming work (v. 18). Whenever we turn our heart to the Lord, our heart is unveiled to behold Him. as with an unveiled face (Matt. 5:8). Then as we are beholding the Lord, His glory, like heavenly rays of the Sun, penetrate into the depth of our being to transform us into the Lord’s image. Just as sunlight activates a metabolic process in living organisms, the glory of the Lord infusing us with the divine essence causes the divine life (divine gene) in us (1 Pet. 1:23) to develop into its intended shape–the image of God’s firstborn Son, our Lord Jesus (Rom. 8:29). The best time to turn our heart to the Lord is at the beginning of each new day. Simply call on His name, breathe in His words with prayer turning each verse into your personal prayer, thanksgiving and praise to Him.

  7. Fantastic article and apt illustrations. Being transformed by the renewal of one’s mind isn’t a “me do it all” task, but one where we’re enabled by the Holy Spirit. Our job is one of agreement and willingness.

    1. Tom Smith

      Glad you enjoyed the post. We can cooperate with the Lord in His transforming work by contacting Him in our spirit by prayer (Eph. 6:18). We should simply behold Him (2 Cor. 3:18), love Him (1 Cor. 2:9) and yes, agree with whatever He shines on and willingly give Him the room in our heart so He can transform all the parts of our inner being to His image. Thanks for the comment.

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