by David Ager.
“Be transformed by the renewing of your minds” Romans 12:2
Waiting around for the kettle to boil the other day, I got to reading the back of the packet the tea bag had been in. “Your inner transformation” it proudly proclaimed.
Now I have no doubt that there are some positive qualities of this particular kind of tea (no advertising here, you will note) but what kind of “inner transformation” could I expect in the member of the household for whom I was making it? Physical, mental, emotional – or all three? I scanned the packet in vain for what the lawyers used to call “further and better particulars”; all I could find was this generic description: “a welcoming cup of spicy-sweet bliss.”
Now for those who prefer herbal tea to other kinds, I am sure that spicy-sweet bliss could be very welcome. Perhaps I need to drink some and see what that feels like. But “inner transformation”? Surely it takes something more than a particular infusion of fruit and spices?
St Paul, in a letter he wrote to the first-century church in Rome, is attributed with a monumental treatise on how God calls us into the unsurpassed riches of his love and reaches his conclusion that it is solely by faith in Jesus, What is more, he says, this is the doorway to a new kind of life, one that does not rely on our own efforts to reach God but assures us that he has reached us and will in no circumstances let us go. (If you read the letter yourself, you will realise that his line of argument is considerably more complex than that, but I hope I have correctly given you the gist.)
Once we let that amazing claim sink in, he goes on, then surely we will want to entrust all we are and all we have to him, so that we can bring everything into line with what God wants – which he describes as “good and acceptable and perfect”. Most of us would settle for that, I think?
The word St Paul uses for this whole process is the one from which we get our word “metamorphosis” (think butterflies). Our English Bibles mostly translate it as “transformation”. Now we’re talking. What St Paul describes changes both our bodies and our minds, right to the core.
So by all means go and make yourself a cup of tea, and enjoy it. But if it’s inner transformation you’re after, then go for the one that puts us at the centre of God’s love and equips us to live life according to the pattern he set.