In June, the tiles were taken to Oklahoma City to be fired. The transformation of the tiles is simply amazing! As you can see in the pictures below, the colors are now bright and shiny. I can't wait to get the planter project finished and for the students and elementary school faculty to enjoy the finished project!
If these tiles had never been put into a very, very hot fire, they never would have become what they were supposed to be and what they were intended to be. Sure, they would have been okay, but they wouldn't have been special. They also wouldn't have been as strong. Now look at them! They are beautiful! They have bright colors, a strong and shiny finish, and each of them is a very unique piece. They are special. They are made new.
This transformation only happened because the tiles were put in the fire...a very, very hot fire. It took something extreme for them to change and for them to transform into what they were intended to be.
When someone decides to become a Christian he/she is making the decision to make a change...the decision to be transformed into what God wants them to be. This decision - realizing that they are lost, realizing that Jesus wants to be their Savior, responding to God's open invitation to all for eternal life, the willingness to become "new" again - is the very first important part of the transformation. But, the transformation shouldn't stop there. And, if one is serious about living the Christian life, it won't stop there.
The Bible has a lot to say about how a one should live after becoming a Christian. Romans 12:1-2 is just one of the many verses that specifically talks about the transformation process of a Christian:
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 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."
In the Christian's transformation process, the body will live for God. The mind will be renewed. The Christian's mind will not think as the world thinks. The Christian's mind will seek to do God's will and not his/her own will.
This transformation process isn't easy. In fact, sometimes is will be downright difficult. Just like the tiles went in to the very hot fire, Christians will face "hot" circumstances that may not be pleasant, but those times will help transform them into what God wants them to be - which is to be more like Jesus.
Becoming like Jesus is a life-long commitment. It's not a one time thing. It's not a one day thing. It's not a once a year thing, or even a once a week thing. It's a 365/24/7 committment. It's knowing and realizing, and even accepting the fact, that to be totally transformed, there is going to be some unpleasantness. It's going into the fire.
There is going to be a process, and that process may be extreme. It may be unpleasant. But, just like the tiles transformation made them what they were supposed to be, the transformation of a Christian will make each of us what God wants us to be.
Let's go into the fire. Let's be willing to be transformed. Let's be willing to become more like Jesus.
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.