Becoming speaks of change, development, maturing, growth and transformation. It also speaks of beauty, something attractive or pleasing, appropriate or proper. Just as the caterpillar grows and reaches the stage of complete transformation it becomes beautiful to behold, pleasing and attractive. It is transformed into that which it was created to be.
As it is with us who are born into the kingdom of God. We too are being transformed into that which we were created to be.
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his son, in order that he might be the first born among many brothers. Rom. 8:29
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Eph. 2:10
Like the caterpillar within the chrysalis, we don’t transform ourselves; we are transformed!
It is this subject of becoming like Jesus that has held my attention now for months. I am captivated by the reality that we can be transformed. Transformed from our old sinful self to being like our saviour, like Jesus. For me personally this gives me hope. God starts with us as we are the moment we are born again and deals with, in His time, our sinful thoughts, motives, attitudes, feelings etc. As we surrender ourselves to Gods transforming work, no longer relying on our natural human nature but on the Holy Spirit, we will, in time, begin to produce the fruits of the Spirit. Like the caterpillar within the chrysalis, we don’t transform ourselves; we are transformed!
From Jacob to Israel
A wonderful example in the Bible of this transforming work is in the life of one of the patriarchs, Jacob. On learning of who Jacob was we see the beauty of God’s grace when we read the words “Jacob have I loved” (Mal. 1:2,3 Rom. 9:13). Jacobs name (Ya’aqob) means “heel-holder” or “supplanter” and indeed he was true to his name for as time went by, from his birth, he supplanted his brother Esau. The means by which Jacob gained the blessing from his father, Isaac, was by deception. Jacob had strength of character and his nature completely controlled him. We see his desire for spiritual things but he was yet to have his own personal encounter with the God of his father, who at this point was only a God whom he accepted on trust from his parents.
Then, on fleeing from his brother Esau, Jacob has his first personal encounter with God which we see in Genesis 28:10-22. It is very interesting to note the impact of this encounter on Jacob by comparing Genesis 27:20 to 28:21;
But Isaac said to his son, “How is it that you have found it so quickly, my son?” He answered, “Because the Lord your God granted me success.” Gen:27:20
“so that I come again to my father's house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. Gen:28:21
From this moment on we see the beginnings of the transformation in Jacob. His mind is transformed and his will redirected and established. We see this in Genesis 28:20-22;
Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear,
“so that I come again to my father's house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God,
“and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God's house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.”
Later in Genesis we see Jacobs faith has matured by his change in name, from Jacob to Israel: Genesis 32:28. An interesting verse in Isaiah. 43:1 captures this transformation and maturing in faith;
But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
Notice that Jacob was created and Israel was ‘formed’. Indeed we too have been created but on being born again we are being formed, as the potter forms the vessel.
It is an encouraging thought that God takes our weakness, our faults and turns them into a thing of beauty. We can become women of beauty and strength. This may at times be a very lonely place but we have one who understands and the results of our endurance are of everlasting worth, far exceeding any worth of earthly treasures!
The following is poem, Belle!, written by a dear sister & friend, Juliette Hutsby, who has kindly given me permission to include it here. It is a poem born from experience.
There was no beauty for Him to be desired
but when transfigured His splendour was admired
so it is, with you and I
like the caterpillar, destined to fly!
She crawls upon the earth feasting upon her leaf
who could know such beauty lying deep beneath
even she will encounter a glorious new birth
flying then with wings no longer crawling earth!
She knew her time, the time to be still
the time for transformation letting go of her will
alone in her darkness the journey lay ahead
with it’s new horizons where new dreams were bred!
At the appointed time her beauty arrived
the fruit of her labours the tears she had cried
she need not have strived her time was always right
as she had been predestined to change and take her flight!
He hath made everything beautiful in His time