I added two small buddleia bushes in my garden this summer. They are called butterfly bushes because butterflies are attracted to them. I was so excited with the anticipation of beautiful butterflies flying around the yard. (photo via Spirit-to-Soul.com)
One day, I walked outside and discovered little fuzzy creatures crawling in my drive and along the side of the garden. They were caterpillars. I thought, “What a nuisance!” Those roly-poly, fuzzy creatures were crawling all around the garden near the butterfly bush. Then it finally dawned on me, caterpillars become butterflies! I was witnessing the beginning stage of the butterfly. That’s when the Lord began to teach me some spiritual lessons through the caterpillars.
Like mankind, the caterpillar is created with a destiny already inside of it. With certainty, it knows that is to become a butterfly. Unlike the caterpillar, however, many humans have no idea that there is a destiny inside of them. Unfortunately, the same holds true for many Christians.
The caterpillar is hatched on a leaf, and right away the newborn begins to eat leaves. It instinctively knows that it was not created to stay a caterpillar, so it eats to get strong for the trials and tests it will have to endure to accomplish its destiny.
Every born again believer has to reach the level of eating the word of God. Initially, all we could take in was milk. We learned the foundational teachings of salvation (John 3:16). Many Christians get comfortable with their baby formula in Christ and stay in that state for years, if not a life-time. Unlike the caterpillar, they do not realized they were meant to hunger for more. They never get an image of themselves soaring high in the deep wisdom and revelation that God offers. In this state, some coast through life or die spiritually. (Selah) If you’re still feeding on the foundational milk of salvation, I tell you there is more for you. It’s time to stop sucking on the watered down food of the Word and start chewing on the scriptures that produce faith muscles of wisdom and spiritual revelation.
Did you know that the caterpillar faces challenges as it grows? It has to shed its old skin and make new skin as it grows larger?
For the Christian, growing up in Christ can be challenging, also. The Lord’s call on our lives involves shedding our old skin with it sinful habits and fleshy desires to accommodate the new spiritual skin God has for us. It involves trusting the Lord in every area of our lives. Will we go where He calls us to go? Will we use the gifts He gives us? Will we obey; say what He says, and do what He tells us to do? Sometimes we face the challenge of disconnecting from old friends who want nothing to do with a life in Jesus Christ. But like the caterpillar, our destiny is to transition. The more we eat the life-saving spiritual nutrients found in the Word of God and drink of the Living Water that flows through the Word to us, by the Spirit of God, we will transition from faith to faith. Hallelujah!
In the final stage of the caterpillar, the insect prepares itself for a God-ordained metamorphosis by spinning itself in a cocoon-like shell (called a chrysalis) and shutting itself off from its environment. During that time it is developing into something brand new.
We would call that separation a wilderness experience; a time or place where we are hidden by God for spiritual development. We have a cloud of witnesses who have gone before us and can testify of God’s faithfulness during wilderness journeys: Although anointed to be king over all Israel, David ran for his life from a jealous king, and lived with a band of lawless men in caves for years (1 Samuel 19, 1 Chronicles 12). Joseph, though destined to be great, was taken from family and friends and lived his young adult life as a slave, branded an attempted rapist, and put in prison in a foreign land (Genesis 37, 39). Daniel was a captive, placed in the kings’ palace, made a eunuch, treated with contempt by jealous leaders, and offered as food for hungry lions (Daniel 1-6). Yet, these heroes of faith prevailed in their wilderness experiences learning to trust the faithfulness of God. Our wildernesses is where we all get to make our own walk with the Lord personal. No one can take the journey for us.
If we trust God with our lives, we will find life with Him rewarding. When He pulls us away from the hustle and bustle of life, it is to take us to a place in Him we have never been before. We don’t all have the same wilderness experiences. God never gives us more than we can bear. However, we have all been given the same words of comfort for victory in our faith walk. “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
I can just imagine other butterflies flying over the one shut up in the shell, yelling, “Be strong!”; “You can do it!”; “Keep pushing, you’re almost there!”
Are you one who encourages? Do you see others struggling or in need and pass by unaffected? Or does the compassion and love of Christ have rule over your heart?
When the caterpillar emerges from its spun-like cocoon, it has wings, legs, antennae, body parts, and is a fully developed butterfly. It looks nothing like it began. Soon it is ready to spread its wings and fly into the world to accomplish its purpose by bringing joy to us, pollinating and helping flowers, vegetables, and fruit produce new seeds, while reproducing more butterflies during their short lifespan.
Even the caterpillar wants to be all it was created to be. How about you? As Disciples of Christ, we must take some time for introspection. What are we pollinating, through the Holy Spirit, from day to day? What is our mission? Are we producing other disciples for the kingdom of God? Is our faith evident to others? Are we carrying the presence of God into our world? Do we forgive wrongs?
God wants mature children and desires to transform us into the beautiful creation He saw us as before the foundation of the world. And like the caterpillar, we can expect to become a new creation in Christ. Praise God for that! (photo via Pixabay.com)
Let’s make a firm decision to finish strong in our mission for the kingdom of God and Jesus Christ. In the end, we want to say as Apostle Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:7 (NLT), “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful”. (Selah)
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