Getting to Your “After”: 4 Steps to Experiencing Spiritual Transformation

Spiritual transformation
Spiritual change isn’t contingent upon a significant life transition. We can learn from Moses’ relationship with God how to experience our own spiritual transformation.
Listen to this devotional

21 When Enoch had lived sixty-five years, he became the father of Methuselah. 22 Enoch walked with God after the birth of Methuselah three hundred years, and had other sons and daughters. 23 Thus all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty-five years. 24 Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him.

-Genesis 5:21-24 NRSV

Enoch had a moment of spiritual transformation with God when his son was born.

That change in his life gave him clarity that he could no longer have the same relationship with God. As his life transformed, his relationship with God needed to transform as well for him to become who he needed to be for his family.

This transformation for Enoch defined the latter part of his life. This was his “after.”

Whether it’s getting married, starting a new career, graduating from school, or experiencing the birth of your first child, these life stages can provide excellent opportunities for moments of transformation and spiritual change with God.

However, our “after” isn’t contingent upon a significant life transition. When we feel stuck, overwhelmed, or frustrated, these moments can also be signs we are in need of a transformative moment with God.

“Our ‘after’ isn’t contingent upon a significant life transition.”

This is where I find myself currently. Though there aren’t any principal “landmark” moments on the horizon, I feel that I am in great need to grow in my relationship with God to become the kind of husband, father, friend, and leader I am meant to be.

My feeble efforts to change on my own leave me feeling insecure, inadequate, and frankly broken at times, wrestling through fears that “maybe I can’t change” or “maybe my opportunity has passed.”

Yet in turning to the Bible, I’ve found hope in looking at the steps that Moses took in his walk with the God of transformation to get to his “after”. By reading these verses about transformation, I learned a great deal about how to grow into the man God has been trying to get me to become.

Here are 4 steps Moses took that lay out for you and me how we can get on the path to our “after.”

Get clarity about your destiny

Getting to our “after” begins with clarity – a clarity of what you are destined to do and who you need to become for this to happen.

“And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. [10] So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” [11] But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

Exodus 3:9-11 NIV

God’s conversation with Moses gave him clarity of who he was meant to become and what he was meant to do. Yet, Moses’ doubt, fear, and insecurity led him to question the accuracy in God’s choice.

Similar to Moses, when we run into our destiny, we may initially meet it with questions of unbelief since the idea of who we need to become seems so distant from who we are.

Life has a funny way of letting us know the direction in which we need to go and where we need to grow. Certain areas of our life may continue to cause us to feel unsettled and uncomfortable, which is a natural feeling to experience when God is pushing us into spaces where we’ve not been before.

For example, relationship intimacy and vulnerability are Achilles’ heels of mine. These qualities have been extremely difficult for me to build in my marriage, with my friends, and in my leadership. As a result, I am often left feeling uncertain about my ability to change, and I start questioning whether God has the right person for these relationships.

Perhaps you can relate to these “un-comfortable” areas of life:

  • Uncertain – An area of my life that I tend to avoid because I can’t control it. 
  • Uneasy – An area of my life that I don’t feel confident or equipped to take on. 
  • Unbelieving – An area of my life where I’ve experienced failure and doubt that I can change. 
  • Unwilling  – An area of my life of great fear that I refuse to budge or change.

Just as Moses had to fight through his unbelief to see who God was calling him to be, you and I must allow the “un’s” in our lives to point us to God to find clarity.

Reflection questions

  • Which of the 4 “un’s” above do you most relate to? 
  • Are you avoiding or leaning into these areas of your life?
  • How has this clarified where you need to grow and where God is leading you?

Embrace humility by leaning into discomfort

The next stage in getting to your “after” is to lean into those uncomfortable areas in your life (rather than avoiding them). When you see God’s destiny for your life, it humbles you to realize it is beyond your human capabilities.

You know you are here at this stage when you have the humbling realization that your relationship with God in its current state is entirely inadequate. Moses, though filled with doubt, embraced his destiny by humbly admitting a greater need for God than ever before.

“Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.”

Numbers 12:3 NIV

As I strive to embrace my own transformative moment, I find this stage of “getting to your after” the most difficult. Unlike Moses, in my insecurities, I respond with pride that wants to avoid all areas of the uncomfortable.

Throughout my life, I’ve found security in achievement. Like a compass in life guiding me, this has been a “false north” for me. When insecurity and anxiety are the main drivers in your life, it becomes an exhausting pursuit of proving yourself worthy of acceptance and love.

This makes it incredibly challenging to have humility with God because the focus is on self and who I need to be rather than on God and who he needs to help me become. As I learn from Moses, rather than trying to “prove” myself daily, I need to humble myself.

Reflection questions

  • Do you respond to the uncomfortable areas of your life by becoming self-reliant or God-reliant? 
  • If you resist being humble with God, what is it that you are afraid of that makes you unwilling to rely on him. 
  • What would humility look like in your relationship with God?

Commit to wrestling with God

The next stage in the process of getting to your “after” involves committing to wrestle with God until he changes you.

“And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent. [9] As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the LORD spoke with Moses.

[10] Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to their tent. [11] The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.”

Exodus 33:8-11 NIV

I grew up an avid participant in sports, my favorite of which was wrestling. The experience of grappling to overcome an opponent despite physical and mental exhaustion was exhilarating.

The most rewarding moments for me were the times when I felt like I couldn’t possibly go on, and it felt like my only option was to quit, only to dig somehow deeper to find another level of resilience that I didn’t know existed. In those flashes, I learned that I could push far past the limits that I previously believed were there.

“At this stage of getting to our “after,” we must be committed to wrestling with God to allow him to shape us into who we need to become.”

We can have the same experience with God. When we are committed to wrestling with him in the uncomfortable areas of our life, he helps us to push far past the limits that we perceive to be there.

At this stage of getting to our “after,” we must be committed to wrestling with God to allow him to shape us into who we need to become. This isn’t a one-time event, but a committed journey with God.

It means that in your relationship with him, you’re willing to pray and not let up. You’re eager to continue to go to the Bible and fight to obey scriptures despite your doubt and allow the spiritual relationships he has put in your life to help you.

Further reading

Our devotional 5 Lessons from 5 Fathers in the Bible excellently depicts what Jacob had to be willing to commit to with God, as “God wrestled deceit out of him and destiny into him.”

Reflection questions

  • Are you committed to wrestling with God until he changes you? 
  • What does God need to wrestle out of you in order to wrestle destiny into you?

Develop a conviction that you need God

Once you’ve wrestled with God, the final stage of “getting to your after” is the conviction of destiny. This is the stage where you develop a conviction that your daily emotional connection with God is a vital necessity to your life.

“Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. [16] How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” [17] And the LORD said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”

Exodus 33:15-17 NIV

Moses reached a stage in his relationship with God where he refused to start his day or leave his home unless he was emotionally bonded with God and felt his presence with him.

Moses knew that the most significant distinguishing mark that made him extraordinary was his relationship with God. His willingness to have clarity, humility, and commitment with God led Moses to build an incredibly intimate relationship, where God even said, “I know you.”

This relationship with God created a level of security in Moses that transformed him into a man who not only embraced but fulfilled his destiny. He helped set the standard for the biblical meaning of change by walking intimately with God every day.

Moses followed in the footsteps of Enoch to get to his “after.” Through his personal example, he exemplifies for you and me how we can get on the path to our “after” and into a relationship with God that wrestles destiny into our lives.

Reflection questions

  • Which of the four stages are you at in getting to your “after?” 
  • Whose lives will change as a result of you getting to your “after?” 
  • What decisions do you need to commit to making to have an “after” relationship with God?
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