In the early 2000s, we were introduced to the first makeover shows on televi
sion. A Makeover Story, Extreme Makeover, The Swan, and What Not to Wear, were a few of the forerunners who paved the way for us to witness the progressive transformation of their contestants. Then, as if physical transformation weren’t enough, we watched as Ty Pennington and his team rolled into towns across the country, ready to restore hope to families in need of a home renovation through Extreme Makeover Home Addition.
Obviously, we appreciate a good transformation story. Remember The Biggest Loser? This show was one of our favorites. The transformation of the contestants was incredible. But I was disappointed to discover old habits die hard, as the majority of winners have regained the weight they lost while on the show. I also read the winner of The Swan, Lorrie Arias, received over $300,000.00 in plastic surgery, but in 2017 told HuffPost Entertainment “she is depressed, bipolar, agoraphobic and believes she continues to suffer from body dysmorphic disorder. She has regained the weight she lost in 1995 and refuses to leave her home, save for trips to see her therapist every few months.”
Yes, transformation stories inspire us. But perhaps there’s more to the story of lasting transformation. These shows may make us want to change, but they can’t make us willing to do the work to maintain the change. This is when God steps into the stories of men and women in a dramatic fashion and gives the nudge needed for the transformation. The Apostle Paul was a man who understood this well. Born Saul, he met Jesus on the road to Damascus, and had his life radically transformed by the encounter. The man who breathed threats of murder against the disciples of Jesus—was transformed when he became one (Acts 9:1).
Because we never hear that he returned to his old habits, I find his advice trustworthy. This man who found redemption through Jesus Christ, understood the key to a successful transformation. How did he find lasting change? He shares with us in his letter to the Romans, “I give all my thanks to God, for his mighty power has finally provided a way out through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One! So if left to myself, the flesh is aligned with the law of sin, but now my renewed mind is fixed on and submitted to God’s righteous principles”(Romans 7:25, TPT emphasis mine).
And again he offers, “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”(Romans 12:2, NIV, emphasis mine). Paul understood transformation came through the renewing of your mind. From the Greek anakainōsis, renew is translated “renovation, and complete change for the better” (Strong’s G342). Instead of renovating homes, and bodies, Paul endeavored to renovate minds.
When we renovate, according to Merriam-Webster we, “restore to a former better state (as by cleaning, repairing, or rebuilding).” Paul knew it was impossible to think like you’ve always thought, and expect your life to change. When he spoke of transformation, he was talking about the same type of transformation a caterpillar goes through to become a butterfly. Maybe he related well to the term metamorphoō. Following his encounter with Jesus, he said he spent three years in Arabia (Galatians 1:17). Many believe this was his time in the “cocoon” as God readjusted his thinking – intellectually and theologically. His murderous mindset needed to be renovated for the life God had planned for him. His days of squeezing to the mold of religious law had come to an end, as God renewed his mind and transformed him from Saul to Paul.
Brian Welch reminds me of a modern day Paul. A guitarist for the hard-rock group Korn, he left the group (and a 23-million-dollar record deal) God stepped into his story after “walking one day, just doing my Rock & Roll thing making millions of bucks, you know success and everything, addicted to drugs and then the next day I had a revelation of Christ and I was like, everything changes right now!” Choosing to no longer allow himself to be squeezed into a mold of addiction, he’d spend eight-years in his “cocoon” as God renovated his mind and radically transformed his life.
I know what it’s like in the cocoon. I spent time there. It was a hard season of loss and loneliness when God began to prune everything from my life He no longer had a purpose for. Friendships were cut away. Dreams I had been holding tightly to—for years—began to slip away. He even took my car! Those dark days were spent pouring my tears out upon God’s Word as He began the renovation work within me.
God’s cocoon isn’t without discomfort; change is difficult.
The cocoon can feel pressing.
There’s isolation in the cocoon.
The cocoon stretches you.
But the cocoon also awakens you to new life.
It’s the place where God does a transformational work, as we discover our soul’s deepest longing has been for its Creator all along. Many of us have been seeking a renovation, and we thought we’d find it in….
the new home
the weight loss
the new wardrobe
the new job title
But it hasn’t come.
Paul says we can be like him, and find real-life-changing-transformation when we stop allowing the era we live in squeeze us into a mold; and renew our mind. The means we no longer conform to the media (social or news), Hollywood, Cosmopolitan, Maybelline or popular opinion. The only mold Paul wants us to squeeze into is the one that reminds us that we “…have acquired new creation life which is continually being renewed into the likeness of the One who created you…” (Galatians 3:10, TPT).
With his renovated mind Paul became our example of what God will do with a transformed life. God is the Master Designer, and He has a transformation planned for you that goes far beyond what any television producer could offer. Rather than swinging hammers at an inconvenient wall in your house, God knows every wall He wants to tear down around your heart. He also knows which wrinkles can be pressed out with His peace. Every area of change begins in our mind because belief determines behavior.
The #Activ8Her’s transformation begins when she decides to diligently seek Him! She spends time, every day, in God’s Word, and has given Him permission to renew her mind. And then she “keeps every thought under control in order to make it obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5, NIRV).
Let the renovation begin! #BU-Transformed!
Activ8ing Her for Him,