For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:29).
Once we’re born again, God wants us to be conformed to the image of His Son, the Lord Jesus. This word conformed is the Greek word summorphoo, which means to bring to the same form with. The root of this word is morphe which means an outward expression of an inward essence or nature. It’s much like the germination of a plant from a seed. The exterior plant actually came from a pattern that had its origin in the DNA of the seed.
In the New Birth, our spirit is made a new creature in Christ. Old things pass away; all things become new. A new person is “birthed” on the inside of us with new interests and desires. And what should take place is that what has been placed on the inside should begin to show up in our daily behavior. Years ago we sang a song, “I’ve got something on the inside working on the outside…” That’s the idea here.
Paul prayed for the Galatians believers, My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you (Galatians 4:19). This word formed in this verse is the Greek word morphe which again means an outward expression of an inner nature. He was praying that the New Birth experience would begin to show up on the outside in the daily lives of these believers. That means that what we become in the New Birth grows within us to the point that it practically affects how we do life moment by moment.
This process of change from the inside out is really what Paul mentioned with the renewing of the mind. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect (Romans 12:2 -NLT) That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, (23) and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, (24) and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:22-24 -NKJV) Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, (10) and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him (Colossians 3:9-10-NKJV).
Paul travailed in prayer for these believers in Galatia. Travail is intense prayer. It denotes agony and tears much like a woman giving birth to a child. So instead of complaining about the lack of Christ-likeness we may see in others, we should pray as Paul did that Christ may be formed in them.
In America right now, there is a constant outward pressure to conform in thought, word, and action to the major thoughts and conversation that is wreaking havoc on our country. We are ridiculed unless we by choice acquiesce to the majority opinion. This kind of behavior will only increase as the return of Jesus gets closer. I am choosing to resist the “herd thinking” and I am choosing to conform my life to what God has placed within me in Christ. What Jesus has placed in you and me through the New Birth is far better than anything the world ideology offers from the outside!
I encourage you to join me in allowing what God placed on the inside of us to be seen on the outside. Our world needs to see the Jesus in us. Let’s pray for each other today that this process of living from the inside out would overcome any pressure from the culture to conform to it! Can others see Jesus in the way you live and respond?