Each month we’ll be hearing from one of our Regional Ministers, to encourage us along the way as we continue empowering missional disciples in our communities across the West of England.

I’m no David Attenborough, but even I’m familiar with the term metamorphosis that is used to describe the abrupt change in shape that takes place in amphibians, insects and fish.  The apostle Paul’s uses this word in Romans 12:2.  He writes:

‘Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed (metamorphoo) by the renewing of your mind…’ 

The examples of metamorphosis I’ve mentioned above result in very significant and obvious transformation. If I’ve understood the apostle Paul correctly, this is what God wants to see taking place in the lives of followers of Jesus.  In other words, in your life and mine, and in your character and values and mine.

I remember in the very early days of the Alpha course one of the stories that was regularly shared was that of a husband and wife who always argued about whose turn it was to take out the rubbish bins each week.  The husband went on an Alpha course and became a Christian but couldn’t work out how to tell his wife about his life-changing decision.  He kept putting it off.  After several weeks, she gave him an ultimatum – ‘Sit down.  Tell me what’s going on – because you’ve uncomplainingly taken out the bins every week for the last two months.’  He’d become a Christian – and he was metamorphosing before her eyes! 

The apostle Paul wrote to another group of Christians – some of whom were having big problems relationally.  He wrote: 

‘Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. 
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.’  (Philippians 2:3-5)

If I’ve understood the Bible correctly, if we are going to live wisely, the transformative journey of learning to live as a disciple (an apprentice) of Jesus needs to be the main priority in our lives.  If I’m smart, I’ll prioritise being with Jesus (see Nigel Coles’ January 2023 Pastoral Letter) and invest in becoming more and more like Jesus .

Last year I had a golf lesson.  The golf pro was talking about the importance of practicing well and asked, ‘You know what practice makes?’  I quickly answered, ‘Perfect’.  To which he replied, ‘No!  Practice makes permanent!’  You see we need to commit to wise practices that will help us to develop well and get better.

I’ve often thought about his words and asked myself as a disciple (an apprentice to Jesus) what am I doing (practicing?) to become more like him – learning to love all kinds of others, ‘learning to think of others as better than myself’, learning to live sacrificially…?  What is my rhythm of life?  How am I ‘investing’ my time?  What spiritual exercises am I committed to, and regularly engaged in so that I might become more like Jesus?

If you have a sense of the importance of becoming like Jesus but are not sure what to do. 

Please check out the Discipleship Cycle App, which is a great way not only to read the Bible, but also to encourage you to act on whatever you’re reading.  If mobile Apps are not your thing, then please speak to your minister or to someone whose journey with Jesus you respect and ask them to help you to put in place some healthy habits so that you can invest your time wisely in the process of being transformed to become like him.

Let us together commit to being transformed (metamorphoo) by the renewing of our minds…’

Alisdair Longwill
Regional Minister