by the Night Writer
A short time ago I wrote a brief post about Romans 12:2, comparing our lives to a lump of clay either conformed by the world or transformed by God; either squeezed or pressed into a mold or filled and expanded as if by a hand reaching inside us as we spin to bow us into a bowl or vase or some useful vessel.
One thing I didn’t note at the time is that in both cases, the lump of clay has very little say in what it gets turned into. Conformity is a matter of channeling our thinking, while transformation is a matter of renewing our mind (or having it renewed) so that those channels are overflowed. We might go along with either activity but once we submit to either we don’t know just how it will turn out.
Not that we don’t try, especially when it comes to the transforming/expanding touch of God the Father. Having spent our lives conformed, we almost can’t help ourselves from repeating the process as we are being transformed. At first we are in awe of what God has done and is doing, especially when we are aware of the quality of the material that He’s working with. All too soon, however, it seems we can’t resist trying to shape God into something that suits our purpose instead of the other way around.
A little bit of revelation, or a transcendant, even miraculous, experience can seem like our destination rather than just a signpost on our way. When God wants to continue to work in our life we’ll still instinctively hunker down, even with (or because) of our new understanding, and decide that “God obviously can do this, but there’s no way He’d do that.” It’s as if he just put up a frame and a roof on our new house, but we don’t think he’s qualified to do the plumbing as well; especially if we’ve always handled the plumbing ourselves.
Conforming is easier because we have a sense of when we look like the other items on the shelf; transforming is harder because we’re continually changing as the Master Potter spins, shapes and elongates, perhaps even adds a handle. Yet in effect we’ll say, “No, please, I’ll just stay a salad bowl. I never thought I could even be a salad bowl, but please don’t turn me into an urn.” Ceasing to conform and beginning to transform usually means throwing out some old thought or doctrine we had in favor of a new revelation; but it’s as if we think that there was only one or two thoughts or doctrines that needed to change.
It’s amazing how quickly we become expert theologians, even as the potter says, “You ain’t seen nothing yet, Lumpy.”