I don’t want to alarm you, but I’m concerned you may be Shapeshifter—and there’s a good chance you don’t even know it.
Shapeshifters have been a part of literature and folklore in nearly every human culture throughout history. Whether it’s a handsome prince who’s turned into a frog or a scary alien who’s masquerading as a human, shape-shifting always keeps a story interesting.
But I hope you’re not offended when I suggest you may be a Shapeshifter. I’ve concluded that we’re ALL Shapeshifters in one way or another, and that’s not always a bad thing.
There’s even shape-shifting in the Bible.
Romans 12:2 says: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Two important Greek words here illustrate the shape-shifting principle. The first is syschēmatizō, which means “to be conformed to someone else’s pattern or mold.” It’s not a good thing to allow your “shape” to be determined by external circumstances, events, fads, or relationships. God hasn’t called you to be a chameleon, simply blending into whatever your surroundings happen to be at the moment.
The second word is metamorphoō, which means “to be transformed, transfigured, or changed into another form or appearance.” This is a GOOD kind of shape-shifting, for it means we are increasingly becoming on the outside what we already are on the inside. Instead of allowing external forces to determine our identity, we have an internal revelation of who God has created us to be.
Paul explains in Romans 12:2 that positive transformation on the outside is impossible unless there has first been a “renewing of your mind”—transforming your thinking and nature on the inside.
It may startle you to discover that even Jesus was a Shapeshifter. Although He existed in eternity “in the form [morphē] of God,” He “made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance [schema] as a man…” (Philippians 2:6-8).
Jesus’ style of shape-shifting was the exact opposite of most people you meet today. While we generally try to put our “best foot forward” and appear to others as someone greater than we really are, Jesus humbled Himself and took on a form that hid His divine majesty from people’s view.
However, three of His disciples were given a brief glimpse of Jesus’ inner radiance when He was transfigured [metamorphoō] before them one day (Matthew 17:1-8). His appearance on the outside took the form of the brilliant glory He already possessed on the inside.
The devil, of course, is a diabolical kind of Shapeshifter. Paul warns in 2 Corinthians 11:14 that Satan disguises himself [metaschēmatizō] as an angel of light. Instead of allowing his inner nature to be transformed, Satan merely puts on an outer facade.
So we certainly don’t want to be Satan’s kind of Shapeshifter, trying to fool people by an outward appearance that is different from our true nature. Instead, we want to be changed from the inside out—increasingly transformed into the image of Christ in our daily conduct and relationships.
Our hope of reflecting the glory of God is not in putting on a religious mask or disguise, as so many still do. Since Christ already lives in us (Colossians 1:27, Galatians 2:20), we must simply allow Him to express Himself—“shifting our shape” more and more into the shape of His image and likeness.