Learning to submit to change

Licensed to use under CC - Image by TanWei

Like the gradual and highly taxing transformation of a caterpillar to a chrysalis and then to butterfly, change, godly change is hard work.   There are so many characteristics which make it so, not least its unpredictable nature and the onwards momentum which makes control a thing of the past; once change is embarked upon we can only ever be swept along by its tide or struggle in futility against its current.  Although both methods are strenuous and even torturous in their way, only one can ever be productive in securing our growth and development.  For godly change to take place in us we need to be submissive to the workings of God’s Spirit, but how do we submit to something which causes us so much pain?

This morning as I struggled to get up from bed (as I have been dealing with some health issues of late) I couldn’t help but meditate on two scriptures; the first scripture is 2 Corinthians 3: 18 (KJV):

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

This speaks of gradual transformation into the image of God, what a beautiful depiction of change, by simply keeping our eyes focussed on the LORD and beholding His beauty and glory we are transformed degree by degree from fleshly to spiritual creatures and from the worldly to the divine.  But what trials and tribulations must we have to encounter along the way to such a butterfly moment?  What are the strains that will try to hold us down and the worries which will overwhelm us?  What are the bonds that will need to be broken along the way?  And surely, if such things exist then we must realise that our transformation will not be an easy one.  Paul knows this already and encourages us with these words (Romans 8: 18 KJV):

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Amen!  Isn’t this a thought for me to hold on to in my times of distress, that no matter what I go through or how I may feel today that the pain of it can never compare to the joy I will experience and what I will gain at this journey’s end!

But oh…!  How do I make it through each day at a time without losing sight of His beautiful visage?  Every day is a prayer of courage and strength that I need soooo much on this road to victory.  Please pray with me.

The second scripture is taken from 1 Corinthians 3: 13-15 (AMP), it says:

The work of each [one] will become [plainly, openly] known (shown for what it is); for the day [of Christ] will disclose and declare it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test and critically appraise the character and worth of the work each person has done.

    If the work which any person has built on this Foundation [any product of his efforts whatever] survives [this test], he will get his reward.

    But if any person’s work is burned up [under the test], he will suffer the loss [of it all, losing his reward], though he himself will be saved, but only as [one who has passed] through fire.

I have to admit that this scripture confused me a bit particularly the ending, but after some reflection I believe that this scripture speaks of refinement.  God has already laid the foundation for us and in us, that foundation is Jesus.  Our job is to build upon the foundation with materials that can withstand the fiery refinement process (Silver, gold and precious stones) and those that will be consumed by it (wood, hay and stubble).  Building is hard work without having to be subjected to rigorous testing procedures but imagine, if after spending your life building how you will feel if all that is left before you in the wake of this fire is a pile of rubble and ash.  I do not imagine that we will build with only good or bad materials, I am sure that at times we will build wisely and at times unwisely but I believe the degree of wisdom will be a consequence of our ability to submit to what we go through here and now.

God is so kind, that He is already teaching us how to make wise decisions through the trials and tribulations we face in this life.  Even now we are undergoing the cleansing and refining fire so that we will only know how to build with materials that last.  And it makes me ask myself this question, would I rather be changed slowly here and now, by facing trials sent to test me and cleanse me so that I can overcome at last or would I rather fight against what I can’t control and be stubborn, bathing in my pain until the day when I stand before God and everything around me that I have built up is consumed but yet by His grace I remain standing?  Would I temporarily experience challenge and discomfort here now in order to gain a much greater reward later or, live in ease and comfort just to narrowly escape fiery wrath at a later date?  Is this a difficult question for me to answer? 

No.  It is such reflections as this that gives me the necessary strength and courage to continue on with this journey one day at a time.

I hope that these reflections will also encourage you to believe, hope and walk in strength and courage in your own trials and tribulations.

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8 thoughts on “Learning to submit to change

  1. Florence,
    Thank you for allowing God to speak to and through you. There is such beauty in a hungry, humble heart. I, too, love the two verses that ministered to you this morning: II Cor. 3:18 and Romans 8:18. I love how God’s Word brings such Life and Hope. Bless you as you continue on toward the great high calling – Him! He is amazing!


  2. Florence:

    I agree with Amy, there is beauty in a hungry, humble heart.

    When thinking of trials, I’m reminded of a story about a silversmith. He keeps putting the vessels into the fire in order to bring out the imperfections and impurities. When asked how long he would continue to do this, he replied, “Until I can see my image.”

    God doesn’t put us through the fire to punish us, but to refine us.

    Thank you so much for sharing this at the Grace Cafe today.

    Many blessings,

  3. God is speaking to you and me both through this post. Godly change is hard work- indeed- I want to grow fruit that will remain after being tested by fire- yet growing it is and you say, a painful process. I saw a picture this week about photo negatives- saying that we are developed through our negatives- word and pictures like that help me.
    A scripture god often brings to mind is : these light [ !!!] afflictions are but for a moment but are working for us an exceeding weight of glory.
    60 years doesn’t seem like a moment to me, but I know it will in the light of eternity. Verses like this and the one you quoted in Romans are what keep us moving towards the goal of becoming LIKE HIM.
    He went through SO MUCH to win victory for us- we share in the fellowship of His sufferings as we allow Him to make us and mold us into His image.
    Thanks! for a very thought provoking post!
    Reminding me of these things is exactly where I needed my mind to go today.
    God Bless!

    1. Dear Mary,

      I particularly wanted to say how encouraging your comment was, 60 years is a long time and to me it is a great testimony of your love for and strength in God. Keep on holding on and I pray that I will be able to stand the test of time also.

      Thank you again and many blessings on this day.

  4. Dear Mary, Joan and Amy,

    thank you for blessing me through your comments. there is so much that I would like to say to you today but I don’t really have the words to express them I can only say thank you for your words of encouragement. The journey is tough and at times I don’t think I can take another step but I guess He is teaching me more to see through His eyes and not my own. It is a huge blessing for me to have your support and encouragement on this journey.

    1. We often think we cannot take another step, only to find we can and have- I often think of the FOOTPRINTS story and believe that at times He lifts us up and carries us over the ” hump” to the safety on the other side.
      My greatest friend in life became my prayer partner 34 years ago- and it was to her that I first shared my heart- only to find she shared right back- and she came into my life after I was absolutely desperate- I lay on my bed and said to God- if you want me to go on you are going to have to help me- and through this friendship He has been helping me over all these years.
      He is so faithful.
      May you be blessed likewise as He is no respecter of persons- what He has done for me He can [ and will] do for YOU, dear one. Be assured you are the apple of His eye, His delight.

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