Considering the new year just started, I am almost certain that most of us have made personal commitments and resolutions. We’ve all made some kind of a list of the things we would like to change, or do this year. Often time our resolutions, are a result of our reflection from the past year. We sit down, reflect on how the past was and then determine what we are going to change about the future. But isn’t that case every new year? Don’t we do this all the time? Yet this hype seems to last only through the first few months of the year. Shortly after the year has begun we’ve either gotten too lazy, or have given up and gone back to our old ways.
For example, a few years ago, my resolution was to have an even deeper relationship with God. Increasing my intimacy with Him was what I needed the most. I had reached a point in my life where I was tired and frustrated with where I was, and desperately wanted to see a change around me and within me.
But hype is only hype and anything that you do without actual intent, or genuine understanding is eventually bound to die down. What I took upon myself to do, could only last me for so long. I started to realize that I wasn’t going anywhere because 1) my desire for a deeper relationship with God was greater, than my actual desire for God, and 2) I lacked the transformation I needed, to see results in my life. As a result, I spent good enough time going around in circles over and over again before I finally learned.
The new creation
Today, I want us to briefly look at what the Bible tells us, and use that to encourage you as you begin your new year. The verse in 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us “if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come”. Let’s talk a little bit about what that means.
Have you ever studied the details of the transformation process of a caterpillar into a butterfly? For starters, one of the most interesting facts I came across while reading up on it was that before a caterpillar hatches, while it’s still developing inside the egg, it grows what’s known as imaginal disc for each of the adult body parts that it will later need as a mature butterfly. In other words, every cell (or disk) that it needs to be transformed into a butterfly is already in the caterpillar before that caterpillar even goes into a cocoon.
What follows, is very fascinating. Once (and only when) in the cocoon, the caterpillar has to completely disintegrate all of its tissues except for the imaginal discs. Those discs then begin to transform into the wings, legs, eyes, and all the other features of an adult butterfly. Quite fascinating right? Caterpillars don’t just go into a cocoon, and come out with wings. The cocoon is a place they must go into, in which they are recreated to their new being. In fact, the caterpillar is completely dissolved in the cocoon that by the end of the transformation process into a butterfly, there is no longer any trace of their previous form as a caterpillar. Isn’t that amazing?
The true transformation
So, if a cocoon can do this for a caterpillar, then how much more would Christ do for you and I? You see, when you are in Christ the old no more exists. Christ doesn’t take what you have, and polish it up – He takes you as you are, and creates something completely new out of you.
If a caterpillar does not go into the cocoon it will never be recreated into the butterfly it’s meant to be. If we don’t realize that now is the time for us to be in Christ then we will never see how much more we could be. A caterpillar begins as an insect crawling the earth, and is barely noticed. Yet inside of it, it carries the great potential to one day be a beautiful creature that stands above ground. It begins with no beauty or appeal, and does not attract the eyes of those who see it. In the same sense, when we live our lives outside of Christ and try to make something good of ourselves outside of the source of all good things, then there is no appeal, or beauty. Although we carry that great potential, we will never see it come to life because we have not hidden ourselves in Christ. We may think and try to convince ourselves that we are good, and sadly enough sometimes we manage to do that and settle for being where we are. When in reality, we are called to be transformed into beautiful creatures that are a direct reflection of the One who defines beauty.
Unity with Christ
Being in Christ begins with understanding who Christ is, and what He has done for you. God did not send His only son to earth so that we can simply be forgiven of our sins, and dodge the wrath of eternal hell. Although that’s a great reason, it’s not the only one. He sent His son so that we can be closer to Him, and therefore be one with Him again. Unity with Him, enables for a transformation by Him.
As you begin this new year, and start this journey towards becoming a better you, I want to encourage you to step into that cocoon. Sometimes, although we have the desire to change, what we really lack is that discipline to be firm and fully step into Him. The truth I want to remind you today is that God has such great plans for your life. He desires to do things with you and through you, that you would never dream of. Despite of what you think of yourself, despite of how worthless, or low you might see yourself, God still looks at you says “I choose you”. If you have a hard time believing that just remember this: God didn’t create butterflies, He created caterpillars that are transformed into a butterflies.
Wishing you a year of abundant blessings, and peace.
See you next Monday!