Transformation is the highest goal for Christians: an ongoing journey toward becoming more like Christ. The word Christian literally means 'little Christ'.
This brings to mind a parent and child type relationship, where the child is a smaller version of the parent. As Christians we are working on becoming more like our divine parent. We want to be transformed into a little version of him.
Transformation fits us for a role in this world
Without transformation there is little value in following Jesus. When we allow ourselves to be changed we are becoming equipped in order to join with God in reaching others. If we remain static, the same as we were before encountering him, we will be of little help to those around us.
The world we live in will attempt to alter us, and make us into the perfect consumer. Looking at the advertising surrounding us we see we are being sold a message: a message that appearance and physical beauty are what matters, not character; a message of promiscuity; a sometimes subtle message telling us that career advancement and attaining wealth will bring contentment.
The word of God is life-giving
Jesus's message is different: it is the complete opposite of the world's teaching. Ephesians chapter 5, verse 26 tells us that the word of God cleanses and washes us.
After hearing the world's message we certainly need to be cleansed and washed. As we are submerged in a polluted culture we start to take in those corrupted ideas, and without the cleansing of scripture unconsciously we start to conform to them.
However, the word of God renews our minds—clearing out the world's lies and filling us with truth. As we spend time taking in God's ideas and teaching, we are transformed from mere earthly creatures with earthly desires into something more.
While reading our thoughts will become aligned with his thoughts and our desires become aligned with his desires. Through spending time in scripture we become spiritually awakened and we are filled with the truth of the counter-cultural message that will change the world.
Because of this it is important to spend time in God's word, learning to prioritise scripture reading and study. To be clean physically we shower frequently, and we need this sort of frequent cleansing by the word also.
Daily we are being shaped and moulded by what we see and hear, if we don't deliberately chose to see and hear Gods truth we will fall victim to the insidious message of the world.
I freely admit that in reality this can be hard. When I get busy at work or caught up with illness my Christian practices often suffer. I prioritise my workload or my illness over my scripture reading. Ultimately when this happens I am the one who suffers.
Time I spend in the word is life-giving and time stressing over work or illness is life-destroying.
God is his word
In scripture we also find the concept that the word of God is God; this is most clearly stated in the book of John chapter 1, verse 1: 'In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God. He was in the beginning with God'.
'Word'has been translated from the Greek logos.
This logos is also used in 1 John chapter 1, verse 1 to refer to the physical manifestation of God: 'That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life'.
The physical manifestation of the logos mentioned refers to Jesus: God became flesh and dwelt with us here on earth. Jesus the word, revealed God to mankind. Through Jesus we can know the Father.
Hebrews chapter 1, verse 3 says that Jesus is the radiance of God's glory. When taken in conjunction with 2 Corinthians chapter 3, verse 8, where we are told that we are being transformed as we behold the glory of God it is clear that Jesus is the one we are to look to for transformation.
Looking to God and his son Jesus, beholding their glory as revealed in the scriptures will transform us.
We are living in a broken world. Without the washing of the word we will start to fit into the world and believe the world's lies. It is only when we are cleansed and differ from the world that we will be able to transform the world.
Kara Greening trained in biology, works in chemistry and wonders about the physics of the tardis in Doctor Who. She is passionate about exploring her faith and being wholehearted in life. She is married to a primary school teacher and they have two fluffy fat cats.
Kara Greening's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/kara-greening.html