When the Lord puts us through a transformational journey, the point of the journey is our transformation. A simple definition of transformation is a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance. God is trying to change us and transform us for our good. Paul says it this way in 2 Corinthians 3:18: “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
The point of the journey is our transformation. Many traditions and much of postmodern literature focuses on the idea that “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end” (quote from Ursula K. Le Guin but is often attributed to Ernest Hemingway). What does this mean and is it true?
In this idea, the journey becomes paramount over the destination. In the film version of The Natural, Roy Hobbs reaches ultimate transformation in his journey back home to the farm. He’s playing catch with his son and his wife is by his side. His life has come full circle. We look at Hobbs with different eyes because we have witnessed every part of his journey. However, we don’t know all that has happened inside of Hobbs’ heart.
Through the filter of the Christian life, we know that anyone who is in Christ is a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). However, the journey of the heart towards Christ is largely an internal journey. It’s not always apparent that the old has gone and the new has come by outward appearance. We change internally, but others still recognize us as the same.
This presents a tremendous challenge to everyone who has been on a transformational journey. Not only must we allow Christ to change our hearts, we must be witness to that change by exhibiting different outward actions. I wonder if this is God somehow weaving these two verses together in the perception of others:
Romans 12:2 - “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Philippians 3:20-21 - “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”
We are transformed by the renewal of our minds (the internal journey), we can discern the will of God which affects our outward actions, and Christ transforms our body in a way that allows others to witness transformation. As we are all on a journey, it seems that we have the opportunity to be filled with grace towards everyone as we hope they will be filled with grace towards us in our own process. Love your own process, but love the process God has others on as well!