Rom. 12:2 tells us to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (NKJV). Many times we have spoken of this transformation as similar to the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly. Indeed, it is the same word in Greek. But what is the process of this transformation? For the monarch butterfly, it finds an isolated place, sheds its skin into what becomes the chrysalis, hangs upside down a while as its insides turn to goop, and its cells are rearranged to form a butterfly. Once this transformation takes place, there is a fight against the skin of the old self (its chrysalis) to emerge, and only after this takes place can it fly (and yes, I am simplifying a very complex process.) SIGH!
Many who have prayed for transformation, discontent with the status quo of “church as usual,” are currently finding themselves in a place where they feel isolated and alone, turned inside out, and quite frankly, stuck. Your heart is weary within you, and you feel like a huge pile of nothing who doesn’t have the energy to fight. I know exactly how you feel! Here’s the good news: you’re in the perfect place for transformation! You may not know it yet, but it has already begun! No, it doesn’t feel like anything good or beautiful can come of where you are at this moment. No, it doesn’t feel natural to be stripped of the flesh and allow the Holy Spirit to have His perfect work in you. The truth be told, it feels rather crummy. After all, you feel as though your world has been turned upside down (and quite frankly it has), and you’re just left hanging. However, you must choose to allow the Holy Spirit to have His way by embracing this work and determining within yourself that you will let Him complete it. After all, no caterpillar has ever flown, and no butterfly does so with one wing. You can’t remain in the flesh and fly with the Spirit, and you can’t partially transform. It’s impossible to live in both worlds.
The purpose of isolation is not only to hide away from enemies that would seek to destroy what the Lord is doing in you but also protect you from those well-meaning people who would interrupt the process in their anxiousness to see what you will become in Christ. You are alone because no one can do it for you. Moses sat in the desert for decades, Paul remained blind for days, and we – we must be willing to hang upside down, refusing our impulse to control the process by attempting to “right” our world. We must hang, and in due season, when the Holy Spirit has done His work, there will be a holy unsettling take place within us. We will once again experience the urge to fight. We will begin to be stirred within and battle against the skin of flesh that has encased us, and eventually, break free to soar to greater heights and distances than could ever have been reached in the flesh.
I want you to know that you are not alone. Within the church, many are hanging around just waiting through the process. In our flesh we may feel a bit anxious because in isolation we cannot see all that God is doing, but within, our spirits are joined together in crying out to the Father for change, understanding that something great is on the horizon. Be encouraged. He is transforming us. He is making us more like Him. Our transformation will enable us to see with greater vision and perspective than ever before, and we can begin our great migration to the place God has prepared for us. A warning, though: you can refuse this process, never transform into what God desires you to be, and be left behind as God’s church becomes what He intended. I, for one, am determined to undergo this process, knowing that what God has planned is far greater than what I, in my momentary discomfort, can see. Romans 8:18, “I don’t think the sufferings we are going through now are even worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us in the future. The creation waits eagerly for the sons of God to be revealed.” CJB