Several years ago, I received a brown box full of iris rhizomes. Although rhizomes aren't much to look at, I was excited to receive this gift from my mother. The coveted gold iris which was one of stars of my grandmother's garden was part of the shipment. I could finally add it to my new high desert gardens. I managed not to kill them and those plain beige tubers bloomed with vigor the second year in the ground. The color was just as impressive as I'd remembered.
The second time the patch of iris bloomed, the bearded beauties were pure white. Not gold. White as snow. Every year since, they have produced gigantic blossoms of white and not a hint of gold. Somehow they changed--still beautiful iris, but not at all what they were originally. Not even the master gardeners in the area can satisfactorily explain the transformation in hue. Nevertheless, they remain changed. Even more striking than their former color. They stand out from the crowd of purples.
As I admired them today, it reminded me of 2 Corinthians 5:17: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come. The believer may not look different physically, but the inward change is absolutely as radical as gold changing to white.
Jesus changes the inward (our hearts and minds) so that the outward (behavior) changes too. Philippians 2:3-5 says:
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.
That kind of behavior stands out from the crowd every time. But the final transformation is yet to come, which will change our physical bodies. The Apostle Paul writes about it in 1 Corinthians 15:49-50;53: Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
We must say with Paul in verse 57: But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.