Word of the Month

Transformation process

June 2011

In speaking to Saul on one occasion, the Prophet Samuel made reference to the Spirit of the Lord. This is the same Spirit who was poured out over the assembled disciples in Jerusalem on Pentecost. In his day, Samuel had been given the commission to anoint Saul king. The prophet told Saul many things that lay ahead of him and gave him instructions. And one of the things he told him was: “The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you will prophesy with them” (cf. 1 Samuel 10: 6). This is a reference to a group of prophets whom Saul was to encounter. The king was told he would enter into a state of ecstasy along with them, and thus also behave like these prophets. In the time of the old covenant, groups of prophets would roam through the land and predict the future. Sometimes they were seized by sudden ecstasy. The Holy Spirit is also to be active in our lives, and He is to inspire us such that we exhibit enthusiasm. Accordingly, our natural way of life is to be brought to a higher level by the Holy Spirit.

Thereupon the prophet told the king: “And [you will] be turned into another man.” This is the effect of the Holy Spirit: first He inspires us to become enthusiastic, and then He inspires a transformation such that one becomes another person entirely.

I would just like to pick up on this last point: the Holy Spirit creates transformation and change, and causes one to become a different person entirely. This is the effect of the Holy Spirit. That is what Pentecost is all about. Earthly matters demand a great deal of us all, but when this transformation process begins and when the Holy Spirit goes to work, eternal matters become more and more of a focus for us. When we are born we all receive a healthy portion of selfishness. However, under the effect of the Holy Spirit we develop the longing to be a blessing for others. Egoism and selfishness begin to diminish more and more, and the desire to be there for others becomes greater and greater. This is a transformation process. That is how the Holy Spirit works. That is what He creates. This certainly does not mean that we must renounce all earthly things, but our focus must be on eternal things.

Under the activity of the Holy Spirit we undergo a transformation process: what may at times start out as justifiable annoyance gives way to a desire for reconciliation. Through the transformation in the Holy Spirit, despondency turns into courage. All of these things are effects of the Holy Spirit. So it is that the reference in this Bible text can become reality: we can become another person entirely!

This is not an outwardly visible change but rather the transformation of a person into a personality of faith: into a person of faith and peace, into a person of hope and quiet waiting. This will be noticed by the people around us and become a kind of identifying feature for us.

Let us give the Holy Spirit more and more room within us so that this transformation can be revealed, and so that we can become people of faith, peace, and hope. May we thereby come to perfection! May our hearts be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit again and again!          

(From a divine service by the Chief Apostle)