Blog #40: Being Transformed

By John Cline
This week, Vacation Bible School has invaded our church building. It is an exciting, fulfilling week exploring what it was like for the early Christians to live in Rome. Here is a summary of the lesson for Day Two (which has as its theme verse Romans 12:2 – “Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think”):
“Imagine walking down the streets of ancient Rome. You pass the home of your neighbour, where the ‘paterfamilias’ (head of the family) is leading his household in prayers to the household spirits. On your way to the forum, you walk past a statue of Jupiter, god of the heavens and king of all the gods. Across from the carpentry shop, people are heading to the temple of Minerva to offer sacrifices to the goddess of craftsmen or to the temple of Saturn to seek his protection for their crops. You’re scorned and even somewhat persecuted because (being a Christian who worships God) worshiping just one ‘god’ seems…well, strange.
Paul’s encouragement to the Roman Christians is simple: Don’t be like your neighbours who foolishly offer sacrifices to idols. And it’s more than just your actions that should be different – let God change your heart. As a Christian, are your actions the only thing different about you? What about your heart? Paul wanted the early Christians to know that it wasn’t enough to simply do different things…we need to allow God to completely transform us.
To get what Paul means, think of a caterpillar. After it goes into the cocoon, it doesn’t come out simply acting like a butterfly. (That would be silly!). Inside the cocoon, a caterpillar completely transforms – its body breaks down and it is reborn as a new creation. With God’s love, we can be completely and wholly transformed…from the inside out. Our outward actions might set us apart, but it’s the change inside that truly makes us different.”
So friends, think of the caterpillar as you got through your everyday life to help you understand that God’s love can transform your heart and your life completely and in the words of the apostle Paul, “Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.”
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