“How does one become a beautiful butterfly?… You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.” Trina Paulus
How does one become a beautiful Christian who enables others to see Jesus? You must want to be so different and want it so much that you are willing to give up the unregenerated lifestyle, habits, and thought patterns and do whatever it takes to be radically obedient to God’s Word. You must want to fly – you must want to walk with God and walk as God would walk instead of crawling through the gutters of life like you use to and as many still do.
It appears that many people say a sinner’s prayer and then think everything is okay with ‘the man upstairs’ and they have a free “get out of jail card” and a one-way ticket to Heaven because they have purchased fire insurance. Nothing changes and they are not being transformed. They can’t fly!
Others truly are converted as they come to Jesus with godly sorrow and repentance knowing they were Hell-bound and only Jesus’ death and resurrection and the shedding of His blood allowed them to experience the forgiveness of their sins. Only because of Jesus do they experience new life now and eternal life forever. But, they leave it right there and never go any further. It is as if they think all the rest will just happen and they don’t need to do anything. They don’t fly!
If you want to move on in your spiritual life and enter maturity then you will need to be proactive. If you want to be transformed so you can fly – you will need to apply yourself – it will take work on your part. Paul clearly tells the believers that there are things we have to do – and that we should not be waiting for God to do them for us.
Ephesians 4:31-32 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Colossians 3:8-10 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
When we are saved or born again we become “new creatures in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17) changing our heart from “a heart of stone to a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 11:19). Then, we should begin to see steady transformation as we grow and mature “from the inside out”. Our new nature arising out of being a ‘new creature’ will steadily bring change to the true believer. He will find himself dealing with issues – anger, unforgiveness, malice, lying, slander, foul language … and the list could go on and on. Then you will realize “I can fly!”
The point is that change is inevitable as soon as you become born again. And, it is you that has to do the changing (with the help of the Holy Spirit). If you simply sit there thinking that if God wants to change something He will – it will seldom happen. You won’t fly!
So, Colossians 3 said that we are “renewed in knowledge” which means the more we get to know God and His Word the more we will see what needs to be changed, adjusted, removed, tweaked, or strengthened (“renewed”). God will reveal things to us and enable and empower us with the Holy Spirit to make the changes – but we do the changing.
Recently I have noticed how many “believers” still have the habits and behaviour pattern of those without Christ. In fact, I have become very aware of believers referencing other believers – “Oh, I’d be careful, she has quite a temper” and “You can’t believe everything they tell you” being just two of a number of comments heard recently with reference to born again believers. I’m not flying!
If we are truly walking with the Prince of Peace and have experienced a life-changing encounter with the Living God – we should, over the years, be taking on His likeness, a family resemblance. These comments should never be said about people who have been born again for years.
No excuses, no rationalizations, no explaining away the behaviour. Born again believers should take on the nature of Jesus Christ. As we allow this spiritual enounter of meeting God and being forgiven to take root; as we let this implanted new nature begin to take over our soul (mind, will, emotions); as we listen to the Holy Spirit and deal with the things He shows us need to be changed – then we will be growing into the likeness of Jesus Christ and others will notice the difference Jesus is making in our lives. “He can fly!”
Here’s the rub – you have to willingly give up and hand ‘you’ over! Give up your ownership of you and let Jesus be the new owner (Lord). You are not under new management – you are under new ownership. The new owner wants to do major renovations – so, you need to let Him have at it. Renovations can be messy – this one will be, believe me. But, you will go from being an earth-bound caterpillar to a heavenly butterfly in the process.
So, Give Him permission to change anything and everything that needs adjusting or removing. Then, you must work with Him in these renovations – afterall, it is your “home” He is renovating … and embrace the changes – letting go of what is being removed and taking hold of anything that is being added.
Otherwise, unless you recognize the new owner and cooperate with the changes He is making in you – you will never learn to fly. You will always remain a caterpillar.
There is nothing more wonderful to see a new convert to the Christian faith let go and let God and then watch the transformation that takes place. Well, actually there is one thing more exciting than that – it is when the new believer comes to the realization that “I can fly!”