I love to bake. I’m not a great cook (I’ve even burned hard boiled eggs and that has to take a real talent to accomplish) but I love to bake. I especially love to listen to reggae music while baking dozens of cookies at Christmas time. I know reggae is not traditional Christmas music but listening to it in the middle of winter makes me feel like I’m on a tropical island somewhere and beaches and sunshine bring me joy and peace.
One of my favorite things to bake lately is banana bread. I found a delightful recipe online and I enjoy adding different things from time to time to embellish it (like peanut butter chips, chocolate chips and once I drizzled it with caramel.) Recently I added carob chips to the mix which is a great chocolate replacement. I have to say, (and I know this sounds prideful but if you ever ate my regular cooking you would understand) adding the carob chips was hands down the best version of banana bread I have ever made. I’m actually going to make a batch tonight for a work meeting tomorrow.
This week as I had bananas on my counter that I was awaiting to be ready to make some bread. Anyone who has ever baked banana bread knows that bananas are “ready” for use when they’re blackened (or as I like to say, rotten.) Banana bread is made with rotten bananas. That doesn’t sound very appetizing and some may prefer to use the word, “ripened” but in reality, blackened bananas are rotting bananas. Looking at those black bananas on my counter I started thinking about how something that is decaying can be transformed into something so delightfully tasty? And the more I thought about it I thought about how God does a similar thing to all of us. But I’ll get to that in a moment.
A few days ago I felt God speak to me about caterpillars (I actually dreamt about caterpillars transforming into butterflies.) God spoke the words “belly crawler” to me regarding caterpillars. In a sense, caterpillars are little belly crawlers are they not? Most people don’t find caterpillars appealing-some are even grossed out by them. But what happens to a caterpillar? It forms a cocoon and eventually hatches into a delicate and spectacular butterfly. Interesting to think that God created a belly crawling creature that can morph into a majestic winged display of His beauty that soars with grace and elegance. But you see God is a God of transformation and that’s what He put on my heart to share with you all today.
The word transformation means “a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance.” Some synonyms for transformation include; “about-face”, “changeover” “radical change”, “renewal” and “transfiguration.” A few of these words you will find in scripture also. The most common verse on transformation is Romans 12:2 where Paul tells us to “not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” Another scripture, this time using the word “renew” comes from Psalm 51:10 where David prays asking God to “create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Even Jesus Himself transfigured before the disciples, and “His face shone like the sun…His garments became as white as light.” (Mathew 17:2.)
The Bible is full of stories of how God transformed lives also. In the old testament Joseph was sold into slavery, falsely imprisoned and God transformed him into the 2nd highest leader of his country in order to save the lives of many people. He transformed David, an underrated shepherd boy into not only the King of Judah but also a man after God’s own heart. God transformed Job from a wealthy man to a broken man to a man who was doubly restored. In the New Testament He transformed a tax collector into a follower of Christ (Zacchaeus-Luke chapter 19.) Jesus also transformed Lazarus from a dead guy into a walking, talking, living, breathing miracle (John chapter 11.) But the greatest example of transformation would be when God did an about-face in Paul, originally Saul, a man who hated Christians and was a key player in even the stoning of one of Jesus’ disciples.
Acts chapter 9 recounts the story of what happened when God moved in Saul’s life and transformed him into Paul a man who was imprisoned repeatedly for fiercely preaching God’s word. In verse 1 Paul (actually Saul at the time) is described as “still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples.” That’s a man that could be described as one seriously rotten banana or evil belly crawler. Yet God saw the potential for transformation. Even though it took temporary blindness to get his attention, Saul converted and was transformed into Paul. The books of Acts, Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians and Philippians are just a few of the books that depict Paul’s ministry-his bold passion for serving God, the trials and tribulations he endured and his tenacity to press on even more to win souls to Christ. The best part of Paul’s transformation when you read about him in later books of the NT you if you hadn’t known his history you would’ve never guessed he was actually an enemy of God before he converted. That’s major transformation when God turns you into someone your past could never recognize isn’t it?
Do you believe God can do that you? He most definitely can. If God cares enough to use rotten bananas to make a deliciously sweet and fluffy bread, if He cares enough to transform a slimy belly crawling bug into something that is so beautiful that you want to chase after it, and if He can change a murdering Christian hater into one of His own Apostles, than He can most definitely, undoubtedly transform you. Are you willing to let go and let Him transform you? Are you ready to let go of your past and see yourself the way God sees you? No matter what you’ve done or what consequences you’re facing, no matter the hardships you are dealing with right now if you look to Jesus, He will transform you, in His time and in His way. And the you He made you to be will be unrecognizable to the old you. He proves it in 2 Corinthians 5:17 when Paul writes, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” Don’t forget-Paul wrote this because he lived it and so can you!
Still need more evidence of God’s transformation? Check out this testimony by Todd White: https://youtu.be/IN7Xkl1JFZ4 My favorite part of Todd’s testimony is the fact that his daughter has no memory of the life he lived in addiction. Only God has the power to do that!