Summary: What is shaping us is of great importance to our progress as followers of Jesus. God’s desire for us is transFORMation.


Galatians 4:12-20 ….. Key verse: 19: “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is FORMED in you …..”

What shapes you ? What is the goal of life ? What forms who I am ?

These are really important questions for anyone who can honestly say I want to know and experience a deeper relationship with God. I want to suggest a couple of ways in which people are continually being FORMED …..

A SCHOLAR learns to understand what the teacher knows.

An APPRENTICE learns to do what the craftsman does.

A DISCIPLE learns to live how the master lives.

 Are we being …. INFORMED ?

A SCHOLAR learns to understand what the teacher knows.

In society many believe this to be the most important life acquisition – Education.

Some in the church consider that this is how discipleship genuinely happens. We teach and communicate sound truth and doctrine. Maturity is seen as the acquisition of knowledge and understanding, even if it is accompanied by a lack of character, love or passion for Jesus.

To INFORM someone is to educate them yet not necessarily change them.

When Jesus instructed the disciples to teach men he intended that it make a practical difference in their lifestyle.

Matthew 28:19,20 (read) “….. teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you”

Is a good academic education sufficient to guarantee a meaningful? Equally is a good spiritual education sufficient to guarantee a meaningful spiritual life?

I have spent a lifetime being INFORMED in Sunday School, Youth Meetings, Bible Studies, Bible College, personal study and yet I question sometimes how deeply the likeness of Christ is formed within me, how deeply I have been transformed, how deeply I am hungry for God, how deeply I long to walk close to Him.

Interestingly, KNOWLEDGE is NOT one of the fruits of the Spirit.

Is being informed enough to enable me to know and experience God ?

 Are we being …. CONFORMED ?

An APPRENTICE learns to do what the craftsman does.

Our world is expert at squeezing people into a shape that it decides – IMAGE is everything !

Romans 12:1,2 ….. “Do not CONFORM any longer to the pattern of this world …”

J.B.Phillips version of Romans 12:2 … Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into it’s own mould.

What is shaping us ? Is it the heart of God or the pattern of the world around us ?

Does the pressure to be like everybody else, to have what everybody else has, to do what everybody else does, to think how everybody else thinks squeeze you into a shape, a form, that is clearly contrary to God’s ideal pattern for you?

Does the call of Christ to deeper intimacy take second place to the calls of friends and associates, of careers, businesses, wealth, fashions and the draw of a materialistic world.

When all is said and done …. Who is kidding who ? If this is all so great why come to Christ in the first place? …. So why be shaped by the image society tells us is desirable ?

We are, however, called to conform to one particular pattern. …. Romans 8:29 “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be CONFORMED to the likeness of his Son.”


 Are we being …. TRANSFORMED ?

A DISCIPLE learns to live how the master lives.

The latter part of Romans 12:2 concludes …. “But be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind”

The dictionary advises us that TRANSFORMATION means to ……

Change shape or form considerably

Change in character, condition, function or nature

Change from one form of energy to another

It is a Metamorphosis. The root of which is used by Paul in Romans 12:2.

Biologically the word is used of the transformation from a caterpillar to a butterfly.

This is more than just a change of appearance, the change enables the new creature to fly.

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come!”

Is this automatic and complete at Salvation ? If so, why are some people obviously not significantly transformed ? Why do some still live conforming lives ? Why do some see little being spiritually formed within themselves ?

Or does this dynamic transformation require our ongoing involvement and consent.

Dallas Willard (The Spirit of disciplines) “Authentic transformation really is possible if people are willing to do one thing, and that is to rearrange their lives around those activities that Jesus arranged his life around to receive power and life from the Father”.

TRANSFORMATION God’s way is the ongoing forming of himself within us.

Am I relying on being INFORMED ?

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