Transformation happens in springtime. It’s what makes it beautiful. Even here in California we can see the shift in the season as the flowers bloom, the grasses green and we hear the increased singing of the birds in the trees. Butterflies unfold from their cocoons, having transformed from caterpillars through the process of metamorphosis. New smells are in the air and the unmistakable signs that come with the arrival of the vernal equinox are all around. Spring has sprung.
Spring is a good time to be reminded of the transformation that should be happening in us. We are called to be in that process of metamorphosis, unfolding into the men and women of God He intends us to be. This happens through sanctification, a joint effort between His Spirit and us. It’s sort of like springtime for the soul. The goal—despite the seasons of life—is to be on an upward trajectory toward becoming like Christ, to conform to His image.
Unlike the blooms and beauties of spring’s radiance, our acquisition of glory as we grow in the image of Jesus is not to fade or diminish. It is not cyclical, returning to a state of dormancy. Moses got to briefly reflect the glory of God as He came down from Mount Sinai with the stone tablets, but the glory faded. That is not the nature of our advancement toward maturity. It’s not a temporary state or something to be occasionally covered, exposed again only when the climate permits.
Transformation, sanctification, the springtime of the soul, as a process, lasts a lifetime for the Christian and is only complete when we stand face to face with Jesus. It takes the work of planning, weeding, feeding, trimming, cultivating and protection from the pests that seek to rob the believer and devour the life necessary for the Spirit to grant the increase that results in one who reflects the glory of God. That’s the goal.
This growth process is not to be confused with our salvation, or the justification that took place when we received the gift of Christ’s payment for our sins. That’s a done deal for those who know Christ. No amount of work on our part can change that. It puts us in no better standing with God than what has already been accomplished by Christ on the cross. No one can improve upon that. But with God’s help, we can improve upon our spiritual discipline, maturity, knowledge, strength to stand and general progress toward Christ-likeness.
Just like trees always continue to grow, so should we! Yes, it’s true: trees never stop growing, according to forest ecologist Nate Stephenson with the U.S. Geological Survey, in an online article for NPR. He said, "Tree growth rate increases continuously as trees get bigger and bigger.” They may not keep getting taller, but they do continue to pack on the girth of “active, healthy bodybuilders.” He goes on to say, "It's as if, on your favorite sports team, you find out the star players are a bunch of 90-year-olds.” They just keep getting stronger and better at what they do. That should be a lesson to us.
We’ve all seen believers who don’t move ahead; they don’t stay engaged and growing in the process. For various reasons they are stuck, sometimes for decades. Some have given up or are simply going through the motions, doing the minimum and fulfilling what they see as their duty. Some whole churches consist of such people. We jokingly refer to them as “the frozen chosen,” and in our season analogy, they would qualify as being stuck in winter where things don’t grow much.
What is more important in life than pursuing an existence that brings glory to God, the glory for which you were created? Are you experiencing the transformative power that comes with prioritizing everything around that purpose? If so, keep going! If not, springtime is a great season for change. Start now!
“His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” —2 Peter 1:3