Paul exhorted his readers in Romans 12:2 to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” This transformation is reminiscent of the transformation Jacob (“the deceiver”) underwent when he became Israel (“one who struggles with God”). Earlier in his life he capriciously deceived to get what he wanted. In his older age he realized he needed the blessing of God to survive in life. That’s a tremendous transformation, and there are three excellent biblical metaphors of God that can serve as motivation for our own spiritual transformation:
- God is a gardener who prunes the branches. Isaiah told of a vineyard that a man meticulously took care of but it still wouldn’t produce grapes (Isaiah 5:1-7). This was a metaphor for Israel who kept wandering from God. Jesus spoke of Himself as the true vine. God was the vinedresser who removes those believers who show that their faith in Him is superficial (John 15:1-5).
- God is a Father who disciplines His children. Solomon assures us that the chastening of God is done out of love (Proverbs 3:11-12). The Hebrew writer developed the teaching that it’s done to the ultimate end of partaking in God’s holiness (Hebrews 12:10-11).
- God is a refiner who purges impurities (Isaiah 1:22-25). The Israelites had many problems, including idolatry and the mistreatment of fellow Israelites. David requested a clean spirit within while asking God to not cast him away and restoring him to the joy of salvation (Psalm 51:10-12).
Lamentations 3:22-26 proclaims, “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I hope in Him!’ The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the Lord.” Let your transformation be complete through the exceptional work of God as a gardener, Father, and refiner through Christ.