Greetings in the name of the Lord.
Last week, I heard a statement along the lines of, “Overseas Council is not just supporting Theological education for the sake of education, but we advance real transformational change for individuals, the church and communities.” I agree whole heartedly with that statement but it does bear some reflection as to what it means to be transformed.
Dictionary.com lists the definition of transformed as (1) to change in form, appearance, or structure; metamorphose and (2) to change in condition, nature, or character; convert. I like idea of changing the nature and character of someone. I know that I am powerless to do such a change, but God is certainly capable of changing someone.
I am immediately drawn to the words of Paul to the Romans when he said, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2). In other words, we must strive, with God’s help, to transform and renew our mind to conform to the will of God. This is not something we swerve into, but it is a conscience and willful act on our behalf to act and think towards a renewed outlook. We seek to shuck off the “patterns of the world” – worldview, and seek “the mind of Christ” – Christian view. We accomplish that, first, with the help of God and, second, with the help of others that have already learned how to do it. That’s called education.
This is not to say that our emotions are irrelevant, but it does say that how we think is of great importance to how we act. A person may not be able to control how they feel – good, bad, happy, angry, sad, etc. An angry person can still behave appropriately or they can go completely berserk. A relatively content person can be caring, or they can be apathetic or even hostile towards others. How we think will determine how our emotions translate into how we behave. If we have a mindset towards Christ, we are more likely to emulate His behavior. Right thinking comes from the right education. The more we know about Christ, the more we will be “Christ-like.”
This kind of transformational change comes from in-depth study in the Word of God. That is the idea of Theological education being transformational. It is not earning a degree just to have a piece of paper proving you are educated. But rather the education is designed to transform a worldview into a Christian view. It means replacing the old thinking with new and truthful thinking in the knowledge of Christ. While the transformation is never really complete (in this life), it does begin with a good foundation and is carried forward with experience and application. This is what makes a world-changer. This is the hope of Overseas Council: Seeing that the individual becomes transformed; and he/she, in turn, renews the church and community.
Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Colossians 3:9-10
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