By Brock Bondurant
2 Corinthians 3:18 – And we all, with unveiled face, reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another…
Potential. Scary word.
It makes me think of a caterpillar. It wasn’t made to be just a caterpillar; it was made to be a butterfly. Did you know that caterpillars and butterflies have the same DNA? Those smarter than me would say, “Duh. It’s the same animal, just in different stages of life.” Well, I know that now…
What if I told you that you had the same DNA of the King? If you’re like me, you forget that a lot. I get caught up in being an employee at a company (or insert your earthly identity here) – a caterpillar – when I was created to be like Jesus – a butterfly. We are to become like Jesus.
Now, I don’t mean that you are the Savior, or even righteous (at least not by your own effort) – or a butterfly for that matter. But I do mean that we were created in His image. Jesus is the one who we were all created to be like. He became human to show us how to live.
We must then order our life around the lifestyle of Jesus – practicing the way of Jesus in order to become like him. After all, Jesus called himself the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). In Eugene Peterson’s words, “The Jesus way wedded to the Jesus truth brings about the Jesus life.”
What the way of Jesus is to those who follow him, the chrysalis is to the caterpillar. Through it we are formed into our true selves, as we become the sum of all of our habits/practices – our lifestyle.
Paul, in the above passage, tells us that we are being transformed into the image of Jesus. I even love how he says, from one degree of glory to another – like the life stages of a caterpillar. It also reminds me of boiling water: liquid water heated up one degree at a time until it reaches 212 degrees and begins to boil, but not a moment sooner – transforming into gas. This is us. Through practicing the way of Jesus we are being heated up one degree at a time, as we transform into the image of Jesus. At the boiling point of Creation our transformation is complete. Science and Jesus. I love it!
We can begin this transformation by forming a rule of life. Think of a rule of life as a way to structure our time in order to be intentionally formed into whatever we want to become. The word “rule” is derived from the same Greek word for trellis, or the structure that supports a plant (like a grapevine) to help it thrive. In the teaching of Jesus, a rule of life is what helps us to abidein the vine (John 15).
Just to be clear, living this way of life isn’t the point; the way of Jesus is a means to an end. The whole point of living this way, pursuing spiritual formation, and taking on these practices is to draw nearer to Jesus. That’s what a rule of life is for: to keep you abiding in Jesus out of love for him. We practice the way of Jesus as a way of living out the work of salvation that takes place in our hearts; a response to the work that he has done. It’s moving faith from our heads, to our hearts, and out through our bodies.
So, for this week’s practice think through how you might structure your own rule of life. Look at your schedule or planner and ask yourself “Is there room for Jesus on my schedule? How might my schedule form me into his image?” Write in times for practices we’ve mentioned like silence & solitude, prayer, or Sabbath. “At 6:00 AM on weekday mornings I make a cup of coffee and pray.” That’s a great start!
As you begin to think through this, consider one of my favorite quotes from an old theologian, S
oren Kierkegaard, who in the spirit of a caterpillar said: “Now, with God’s help, I shall become myself.”
Go get ‘em butterfly.