Forever!

An illustration I heard recently painted a beautiful  picture of what happens when receive life in Jesus Christ.  While it wasn’t totally new to me, it certainly added a new dimension of revelation of God’s love for us and Jesus’ sacrifice for us.  Let’s take a very unscientific look at metamorphosis.

First there is a caterpillar, crawling on the ground in the dirt or on bushes and trees, eating the leaves.  One day, it attaches itself to one place to be completely changed.  What emerges from that cocoon looks nothing like the caterpillar that entered, nor does it function like it.  Instead, it is now a beautiful butterfly.  (Okay, I know some of them are not so pretty, but let’s just flow with the beautiful ones for this illustration.)  This butterfly flits around with quiet beauty, going from flower to flower – just being a butterfly.

What if one day this butterfly catches sight of a flower in the middle of a garbage dump, maybe the one it lived in as a caterpillar?  Its fellow butterflies beg it to stay with them far from the decay and stench, but this stubborn butterfly flies in anyway.  It spends every remaining day of its life in that garbage dump.  But, here’s the thing – it never returns to being a caterpillar.  It was forever changed during metamorphosis.

2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Once we have received Christ’s atoning sacrifice for all our sins – even the ones we commit after receiving Him – we are (present tense) forever a new creation in Christ.   Jesus paid the price in full and declared, “It is finished.”  Hallelujah!  What freedom we have in Christ!  What love He has for us!

Of Caterpillars, Moths, and Butterflies

As I listened to the sermon during a Sunday service, Holy Spirit did what He does with me from time to time.  He took me down a slightly different path than the one the preacher was traveling, though it still concerned the same subject.  He was talking about metamorphosis, the root word for transformed, and likened it to a caterpillar caterpillarbeing transformed into a butterfly.  That’s all it took for my mind to “flit” away for a few minutes!

Romans 12:2, the main verse in his message, refers to being conformed to the world and its ways, or being transformed to reflect Christ to the world by showing a completely different way of living.  “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

I started thinking about caterpillars and how they become either moths or butterflies through metamorphosis.  One comes through the process so pretty that people enjoy watching it both in flight and resting, while the other is not so pleasing to look at and is considered a pest no matter what it does.  For those of you who are science enthusiasts, or at least have more than a passing interest in butterflies, moths, and the whole cocoon / chrysalis thing, I did research before writing this.  I understand moths and butterflies don’t go through exactly the same process in their transformation, and that some moths are not pests.  For the sake of this post, however, I will lump all moths into the dull-looking pest category, while lumping all butterflies into the pretty and harmless group.  One difference between the two I found particularly interesting is that moths are basically night creatures – creatures of the dark – while butterflies are awake and active in the light of day.moth

Neither moths nor butterflies are born to remain caterpillars.  Their destiny is discovered through the process of metamorphosis, in the hidden place, after which their true nature is revealed to the world.  Likewise, we are not born to remain the same.  From the verse in Romans, we see that our mind is the hidden place where our metamorphosis occurs.  What we become is a direct result of what we put in our minds.  If we pour the world’s thoughts, attitudes, and images into our minds, we’ll keep fluttering around in the darkness.  We’ll be just like the world, blending right in.  If, instead, we pour the Word of God into our minds, complete with its attitudes and images, we are actually transformed.  We won’t look, act, or sound like the world, but there will be those in the world who will be drawn to the Light of Christ now visible in us, the transformed ones.  We can remain in His Light, even in the midst of the darkness of the world, when we continue to renew our minds in Christ.

Caterpillars don’t have a choice about whether they will become moths or butterflies.  Therein lies the key difference between human and caterpillar metamorphosis.  We butterflycan choose whether we will be conformed or transformed, and it is done simply by what we put into our minds.  One thing is certain, however.  We will not remain as we were.  So, do we choose the world or the Word?  Do we become a moth or a butterfly?

James 4:4 “. . . Do you not know that being the world’s friend is being God’s enemy? So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world takes his stand as an enemy of God.”  (AMP)