A couple of years ago, Peggy and I invited some international students to the Marysville Balloon Festival, a fun day of absorbing the sights, listening to tunes, and, of course, consuming junk food. At some point in the afternoon, about a dozen pick-up trucks with trailers pulled up alongside the airstrip. We watched, mesmerized, as the aviators and crew unpacked their hot air balloons—each one spectacular: huge, colorful, not one like another—and spread them out on the ground. Thinking back on it later, they were a picture of humankind separated from Christ1—majestic in design and unique in conception, though empty and spiritually lifeless.2
As the crews began to fill the listless behemoths with hot air, we initially saw no outward change at all, but after a while, the skyward side of the balloons began to billow, and over time their topsides started to rise. Finally, filled with hot air, every balloon stood upright, anchored to the ground, yet reaching for the sky. They were magnificent, yet stationary; beautiful, but going nowhere and doing nothing. This, too, was illustrative, depicting a point along our spiritual journey: “born of the Spirit,”3 yet not moving, birthed but not launched.
Then, at the right time, one by one, these silent aircraft lifted into the atmosphere, and we saw their glory—hot air balloons transformed into what hot air balloons are supposed to be and doing what they were created to do. Carried on currents, they were visible now for miles around, spreading out and bringing joy even to those who did not come to see them. Likewise, it is God’s purpose that all who are in Christ by faith be filled with His Spirit and transformed to the image of His Son, realizing our identity and pursuing His purposes.
The apostle Paul tells us, “We all who … contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”4 Please stop and re-read this verse; He is working in you today. Over the coming months, this will be our focus: God steadily transforming us into the likeness of His Son. May it be so.
Father, thank you for saving us through Christ and for transforming us to His likeness today. Your will be done. In His name, we pray. Amen.
1 Ephesians 2:12
2 Ephesians 2:1
3 John 3:8
4 2 Corinthians 3:18