“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” – 2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV
“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…” – Romans 8:29a
It’s been said, “People just don’t change.” This common phrase finds its traction in human experience. People disappoint us and we disappoint ourselves. We become frustrated, disillusioned, and ultimately apathetic. We say things like, “Well that’s just the way I am” or “At least I’m not as bad as other people.” Of course, the clear teaching of the Bible, and the experience of new life in Christ boldly compels us to question these underlying assumptions. If it’s true that the same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead actually lives in us (Romans 8:11), then deep transformation of our lives is not only possible but should be expected.
So why does it seem that so few people expect an utter renovation of their lives to take place?
While the complete answer to this question is complex and varies from person to person, the simplest reason is that we fail at following Jesus on his terms. Many are not really pursuing a life of being and making disciples of Jesus. I have become convinced that:
Experiencing whole-life transformation in Jesus only comes as we
intentionally follow him through the power of the Spirit and in the
context of accountable relationships.
Over the next few weeks, we will look at the whole-life transformation that Jesus is after in our lives. I encourage you to begin some basic self-assessment and begin to make some plans in this new season to pursue life-change in each of the areas we will be discussing. Discipleship to Jesus results in our mind, character, relationships, and service being changed. While obviously not exhaustive, these broad categories are meant to summarize the kind of renovation God brings about in us as we live as Jesus’ disciples.
Read 2 Corinthians 3:16-18 aloud with a trusted friend. Soak on these words then answer the following questions:
A. What has your relationship with the Spirit of God typically looked like?
B. Do you feel your relationship with the Spirit needs to change? If so, how?
C. Describe what you think is the nature of the “freedom” or “liberty” mentioned in v.17 (also consider v. 12 as well as Hebrews 4:16)
D. Does the freedom, boldness, and confidence characterize how you relate with God in prayer? Why or why not?
E. What is one area of your life that the Spirit has brought about definite change as you’ve grown in your relationship with Jesus Christ? Describe what this has looked like?
 Jesus gives us numerous examples of those who begin with genuine interest and enthusiasm for him, but who ultimately turn away. Consider three of the four soils mentioned in Mark 4:1-20, or the rich young ruler’s response to Jesus’ direction to go and sell everything in Luke 18:18-30. Additionally, we see in John 6:66 that many of Jesus’ disciples turned away from him after hearing some of his more difficult teachings.
 Bill Hull, The Complete Book of Discipleship: On being and making followers of Christ (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2006), 130. Hull says: “Based on the life of Jesus, I believe becoming like him includes six issues of transformation. Living this way leads to becoming formed then conformed, and that leads to transformation.” In addition to transformation of mind, character, relationships and service, Hull adds habits and influence. I have combined these under the categories of character and service respectively.