I was passing by a new business on a corner near our house recently. Men were outside pouring the concrete sidewalk. Since I was stopped at the traffic light, I had a few minutes to watch the men in action.
The concrete flooding out of the end of the mixer was wet and full of small rocks, or aggregate. The men were using their tools to push and pull the concrete into a wooden form. Eventually, with enough pushing and pulling, the concrete will fill up every little space inside the form.
When the concrete has all been poured, the men begin to smooth out the top of the concrete so that none of the rocks are protruding from the surface. Then the concrete is left to set up. Once it is finished it will be as hard as, well, concrete.
If the men had not first created the wooden form, when the concrete was poured, it would not take the intended shape. In fact, the flowing concrete would be almost impossible to control. It is the form which makes it possible to end up with a slab of concrete in the shape of the original form.
We too, are being shaped into another form. . .or conformed, if you will.
"For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren." Romans 8:29
"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. " Romans 12:2
The Lord is pouring us, like that mound of wet useless concrete, into the form that is the image of His Son. He uses circumstances, situations, other people, tribulations, trials and persecutions to push and pull us into that very image. Not a moment of friction is wasted, not a inch of concrete is ignored. Finally, in the fullness of His time, we find a marvelous thing has occurred:
"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." 2 Corinthians 318