When reflecting about this value, one of the questions that came to my mind was: is it possible to have discipleship without the transformation? When reading through this weeks' passages, it is clear that transformation is part and parcel of being a disciple of Jesus.
In Mark 1:15, Jesus starts his ministry with the call "The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news (gospel)". The call to repentance and belief requires a transformation of the heart and mind. From Old Testament passages, we see that it is God himself who transforms us:
Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. -- Psalm 51:10
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. -- Ezekiel 36:26
But like the balance/tension between God's Sovereignty and Human Free Will, Romans 12:2 clearly exhorts us to play our part:
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. -- Romans 12:2
It is easy to conform to the world. The values of the world appeals to our sinful nature of greed and pride. So if we are not careful, God's transforming work in our lives can easily be disrupted, as is evident in Galatians 5. The Christians there were doing so well...until false teaching crept in and they were lured away from the original Gospel. We must be watchful of ourselves and each other as "A little leaven leavens the whole lump."
As our faith community is embarking on the Envisioning 2025 process, I find myself drawn to the Romans passage where it says that having a transformed/renewed mind enables us to discern what is good and acceptable and perfect will of God. I pray that as we seek God's vision together, our minds will be renewed and align with His, so that His will be done, and not our own.
I very much look forward to what God has in store for our faith community in the next 5 years, and to see how God will transform the church and its surrounding community for His glory.