According, to 2 Corinthians 3:18, the goal of our spiritual journey is to be transformed into the image of God. “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…,” (2 Corinthians 3:18). Transformation will involve being remade into who we were destined from eternity to be.
What is the first step in the Christian transformation journey?
A lot of words have been used to describe the first step of change-conversion, purgation, or repentance. Jesus had a few words of His own. At times He told people to repent of their sins. There were times he asked people to follow Him. Sometimes He simply healed them. All of His ways invited a death to the old way of living and an awakening to a new life of surrender to His love.
The way of Christian spiritual transformation always requires an encounter with the Living God. It does not matter if the turning is sudden or gradual it will always involve a turning and awakening.
Repentance is a turning away from sin, but that is not enough, it must be a turning to Jesus.
Turning toward Jesus is the foundation of repentance.
Turning toward Jesus helps us to see that ongoing repentance is going to be a way of life.
Jesus’ call to every one of us is a call to be aware of His presence, to turn toward Him, and surrender to His love. It is a call to a lifelong transformation process of being made into His image.
Our attachment to our sinful ways is much too strong for us to change merely by our own willpower. When we surrender to His divine love we discover it is the fuel that propels change.
His love changes and transforms our hearts and our wills.
His love is the only power that will enable us to choose His will over ours.
Second, Jesus love will only transform us if it is received in vulnerability. It feels so risky for us to allow ourselves to be loved unconditionally. No one can change until they accept who they really are. Our self-deception and inability to be vulnerable block all meaningful transformation. It is only when we accept who are, dare to show who we are, in all that vulnerability, and nakedness that we are able to receive love in a way that makes a difference.
Third, transformation demands that we meet God in the vulnerability of our sin and shame.
Transformation demands that we stay in Jesus loving presence long enough to allow our shame to melt away and allow God’s love to penetrate all of our woundedness.
Take some time to reflect on how love has made a difference in your life. Reflect on the ways you have experienced God’s love directly and personally for you. Imagine yourself soaking in that love and notice what changes within you. Think about the ways in which you hide from God’s love and the reasons why. Imagine what it would be like to allow Jesus’ love to heal your deepest shame and fear. Ask Him for His help in identifying the parts of yourself that you fear to invite Jesus into. Ask Him to show you the next steps in your transformational journey of surrendering to His perfect love.