Posted by: DCox | July 2, 2008

How does Transformation occur?

The story of Lazarus invites us into the truth that transformation does not begin with earning love. Transformation does not depend on our efforts to “make” it happen. Transformation begins when you are loved. This is what happened to Lazarus. Earthly flesh and blood can never speak this kind of deep love to our hearts.  Only the Voice of Love will do. Only love transforms. Not power. Not coercion. Not programs. Not tips and techniques. Only love – and only the love of God.  The Lazarus Life, p. 25



Working for an organization whose mission is “Transforming Communities through Discipling for Development®”, I’ve given some thought to what causes transformation.  As I watched the transformation of rural communities in Africa occur, it seems that at least some of these components are essential:

  • Change of worldview – the realization that we have resources from God and we can use these to solve some of our own problems
  • Knowledge – technical knowledge that is translated into personal experience
  • Community mobilization – people work together for the common good/wholeness; and this is necessary because of the scope of problems
  • Incarnational relationships – just as Jesus shows us the Father, so followers of Christ working as development workers show members of the community the love of God.  The work of the Holy Spirit is to draw individuals to God as they experience His love indirectly through relationships with these men and women.  Often, I think we need to experience human relationships characterized by love and grace before we can be receptive to God’s deeper, healing love.


In my next post, I’ll write more about the impact of incarnational relationships. I encourage you to interact with me by posting comments with a post.


  1. I would agree that transformation happens through relationship. I think my initial temptation in the area of mission was to say, I was sent out, by God, to transform others. But, I found that the deeper my relationships became with people from different cultures than my own, I found that I was the one that was transformed. As I learn about another culture, through my experience of people, I begin to see another face of God, that I miss by looking through one set of lenses, I begin to see what is important in my relationship with other people, with creation and with God.


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