The Object Lesson – Magical Growing Animals
This is a dollar store idea that illustrates the idea of transformation. You can pick up magical growing pills at local dollar stores or order them online. This childhood favorite involves placing a pill into a bowl of hot water and watching the change takes place. What’s actually happening is the clear outer shell of the pill will dissolve in the hot water and a spongy animal will emerge from the shell.
As the pill is soaking in the water, you will talk about what transformation really is. When something transforms, it doesn’t just change at the surface level. Putting on new clothes or applying make up don’t count as transformation. Transformation changes something into a completely new creation. The best example we have in our world today is a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly. In the case of our object lesson, the pill transforms into a shark, dinosaur, or mermaid.
While this does work as a stage demonstration, it’s perhaps best suited for a small group setting where each person could have their own animal to transform in the hot water.
The Bible Connection – Transformed Lives
While forgiveness is one of the key tenants of the gospel, it’s not the only important truth. True faith in Christ does more than just cleanse us from sin, it also leads to a transformed life under the power of the Holy Spirit. The biblical words for this idea are justification and sanctification. Justification means we are forgiven and are no longer guilty in God’s eyes. Sanctification means we are being made holy; the Holy Spirit is shaping our hearts and lives to look like Jesus. Paul writes about this type of spirit-filled transformation often, but the clearest text is Romans 12:1-2.
In this passage, Paul challenges us to not conform to the patterns of the world. This means we aren’t supposed to look or act like the world around us. The world is materialistic, selfish, prideful, afraid, vengeful, and angry. As followers of Christ, we don’t value what the world values or act the way the world acts. Instead, we are called to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Christ wants to change us beyond just the surface level; he wants to transform us so deeply that even our patterns of thought are renewed.
Just as the butterfly bursts forth as a new and beautiful creation and your dinosaur was set free from its plastic enclosure, Christ longs to free us from sin and re-create us as something beautiful. Following Jesus leads to a transformed life.
Scriptures to Study and Use
Romans 12 is just one of many texts that talk about this type of transformed life. Here are some other places you could turn.
After listing the types of behavior we should not participate in, Paul tells the Corinthian church that is who they used to be. They have, however, been made new in Christ.
This is a simple exclamation. If we are in Christ, the old is gone and the new has come. We are not who we used to be.
In this famous “fruit of the spirit” passage, Paul talks about actions that fill the lives of non-believers. He contrasts this with what a life looks like when it is lived in step with the Holy Spirit.