A study in contrasts

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  -Philippians 3:12-14 (ESV)

Don't you love "Before" and "After" pictures? Long a staple of advertisers who want you to believe their product is THE ONE that will change your life, such campaigns continue to be effective because we love to witness that dramatic change. And somewhere, in the back of our minds, we can't help but wonder, "What if...?"

The transformation we experience through abiding doesn't always lend itself easily to before and after pics, but there is definitely something going on here. In answer to the question, "What does transformation look like?", Blake showed us some specific ways in which our transformation generates some contrasts (https://www.convoynwa.org/audio/2019/4/7/thermometer-or-thermostat).

I move from Darkness to Light - 
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light...  -Ephesians 5:8 (NIV)

I move from Castle-building to Kingdom-building - 
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  -Colossians 3:1-2 (NIV)

I move from an Old self to a New self - 
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.  -Ephesians 4:22-24 (NIV)

I move from being an Image of the world to reflecting the Image of Christ - 
And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.  -1 Corinthians 15:49 (NIV)

You'll notice something about these changes. In answer to "How long does transformation take?", it is definitely not instantaneous. No, it's a process that lasts a lifetime.

Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.  -1 John 3:2 (ESV)

Because of that, the changes can be very incremental. If we were to take before and after pictures, we might have to wait years between the two to see the full effect. But I like to see some evidence, don't you? "How will I know I'm being transformed?" Well, I should be gradually starting to see and love people the way Jesus does. After all, the goal is Christ-likeness, right? Check the fruit - Am I growing in these, or at least starting to care whether I grow in them?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  -Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)

Scott Thompson