Picking up from the first part of this article, the Transformers toys and TV cartoon were unique because toy (or cartoon) robots could transform into vehicles. Or, to the unsuspecting passers-by, vehicles (race cars, trucks, airplanes, etc.) would turn into a robot!
While the television series could take some liberties with the robots’ transformation process, the toys had to be carefully designed to support both forms of each character. Arms and legs would fold out of the vehicle, often turning inside out with the original vehicle surface typically serving as the back or outside of the robot. The head of the robot was typically tucked into the vehicle, folding out during the changeover. A lot of careful engineering had to go into these, and – although kids could usually figure it out – sometime the instructions were necessary to figure out all of the steps required for the conversion.
More importantly, though, in the first part of this article, we looked at the transformation that Romans 12:2 calls us to. I suspect that the 1990’s song, Take My Life, may have used that passage as part of its inspiration, but it takes a little different perspective. In particular, the chorus says this:
Take my heart and form it
Take my mind transform it
Take my will conform it
To Yours to Yours oh Lord
I think of these three steps as successively more challenging:
Forming works well with something pliable. We might think of being clay, in the great Potter’s hands, being formed into something that He wants to make us into (see Isaiah 64:8, and elsewhere in the Bible). But, metal can also be formed, and that takes a lot more force. (Which material is our heart made from?)
I don’t want to read too much into this song, lest I stray too far from what the authors intended. However, it seems that perhaps our hearts are the easiest of these three things to change. Our feelings come and go with circumstances, and – let’s be honest – even when our hearts are set on Jesus, sometimes we stumble and – looking back – it seems like our hearts pulled us astray (although it’s probably our sinful nature, I suppose).
Being transformed may or may not be difficult. Like an old Transformers toy, transformation can be fairly non-destructive. In the hands of a kid who knew all of the joints and hinges of a favorite toy, the transformation from vehicle to robot (or back again) could be done quickly, and without breaking anything.
However, if this wasn’t done with knowledge and care, pieces would be forced the wrong way, and the toy would be broken. God can make us into something new and better. However, sometimes I think that we try to transform ourselves into something that God never intended. It’s uncomfortable, to say the least, and may make us feel like parts of our life are in pieces or out of joint.
Our minds can be a little more set in their ways than our hearts. In Romans 12:2, transformation comes through the renewing of the mind. This doesn’t seem to be just an “adjustment” or “correction” to our thoughts. Instead, it sounds more like a substantial overhaul, like this verse says:
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
2 Corinthians 5:17 NASB
(This verse – like so many others in the Bible – is even better in context.)
However, no matter how pliable the material, I think of being conformed as a stressful process. Whether metal is pressed, headed, or forged into a die, there is often a lot of force required to make this change. Yes, more pliable materials – like Play-Doh – can be pressed into a mold without a massive ram; however, what comes out still does not look like what went in.
Like Romans 12:2 warns us (as mentioned in the first part of this article), yielding to pressure from the world, and conforming to it, should be avoided. Even those who try to “fit in” to a society – especially one whose norms and goals do not match their own – experience the discomfort of this. They feel the pressure and conflict of not being who they really are, just to seem like one of the crowd.
So, conforming to the “world” (the domain where Satan has influence) should be avoided. However, conforming to the will of God, who loves us, will lead us to the abundant life that Jesus offers.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
John 10:10 NASB
It seems that our will might be last in this list because it is the hardest to change. I may feel (in my heart) like I want to follow Jesus. Intellectually, my mind may value the logic and reason behind following one who knows – and wants – the best for me. Still, my stubborn will fights against those things. (Apparently, I’m in good company – see Romans 7:14-15.)
Becoming like Christ (or, the fancy church word for that, “sanctification”) isn’t always simple or comfortable. But, it’s worth it. Be formed, transformed, and conformed to be like our ultimate example, Jesus Christ, today.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18 NASB