If there was a singular moment in your life when you finally responded to God’s call into His kingdom, you may remember it as a profoundly transformative experience. Perhaps you felt overcome with emotion like never before. Perhaps you felt as though an external force was compelling you to fall to your knees in prayer. Or, maybe you felt a sudden urge to make radical changes in your daily life in order to better align yourself with God’s word.
However, many Christians find that as time goes on along their spiritual journey, that rate of transformation slows down. Maybe they feel that the honeymoon phase of turning their heart over to God has ended. Maybe they have found that they have returned to their same old habits. Or, maybe their faith doesn’t feel as rock-solid as it did when they first called themselves Christians.
So, what, exactly, is spiritual transformation, at least in the biblical sense? Throughout the Bible, God speaks of transformation as a natural step of aligning our thoughts with His own. But, how do we gauge transformation, and how do we know if we’re transforming quickly enough and in the right direction?
Romans 12:2: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
This verse in the Bible speaks volumes. And, it speaks of transformation in a few different ways. For one thing, it reminds us that transformation takes place in the mind, rather than in our behavior, necessarily. It’s true that many of us change our behavior when we first commit ourselves to the Lord, but true transformation affects our thoughts, which are invisible to others.
Many of us make changes when we first choose to walk the Christian life. Maybe we decide to drink less, or perhaps we start making an effort to be kinder to others. These are good indications that we are heading on the right path, but they can also be superficial if our thoughts are not aligned with the word of God. So, rather than measuring our transformation based on our actions and our experiences, we should constantly be monitoring our thoughts. If the thoughts that enter our minds throughout the day sound more like those of God’s, we know that a true spiritual transformation is taking place.
This verse also talks about conforming to the pattern of the world. We tend to measure success by worldly standards rather than those of God. So, when we decide to live a faithful life, we measure our transformation based on worldly changes, as in how we handle our money, how we care for our bodies and the words that come out of our mouths. Again, it’s natural to want to improve our habits in order to please God, but real spiritual transformation is much deeper than the things that we do on the outside.
Recognizing Transformation for What it Is
So, how do we gauge our spiritual transformation? Is it all about experiencing big, emotional moments that bring tears to our eyes? Well, yes, it can be for some, but for others, it can be far more subtle. As we grow in our faith, we must make an effort to monitor our thoughts throughout the day. When we’re dealing with a particularly difficult family member, we must pay attention to whether we’re feeling patient and compassionate, or irritated and cold. When we are experiencing a hardship at work, we must truly ask ourselves if we’re feeling hopeless or if we know deep down that God has a greater plan for us, and so we must trust Him as we face this challenge.
The more we notice that our thoughts are naturally gravitating toward those of God, the more we can recognize that a spiritual transformation is truly taking place. God says repeatedly throughout the Bible that he will transform us, and that all that we need to do is have a willingness for this process to take place. This is a promise that He has made to us. So, rather than rushing to make changes in order to please Him, try allowing Him to do the work for you. After all, God keeps His promises. All that you need to do is maintain faith in Him by being prayerful and continuing to study His word.
Further Transforming Yourself in the Eyes of God
If you are ready for a spiritual transformation on a deeper level, or if you feel like your faith is plateauing, there are some things that you can do. One thing is to make more of an effort to pray with purpose. Many of us fall into the habit of praying out of, well, habit. We say the right words, but our hearts are not in them. So, set aside some time each day to openly communicate with God, speaking from your heart.
We also recommend discussing your faith with others who share the same Christian values. Often, we tend to keep our spiritual lives to ourselves, thinking that such matters are deeply personal, but this is a mistake. We can better gauge and deepen our spiritual transformations by openly talking about our journeys with fellow Christians.
Everyone’s Spiritual Path is Different…
And God knows this better than any of us. No two people will have the same journey of spiritual transformation. But, know that transformation takes place in the mind, and can rarely be gauged by outwardly means.