Two caterpillars were chatting on a leaf. Suddenly, a beautiful butterfly fluttered by.
One caterpillar turned to the other and said, “You’ll never get me up on one of those butterfly things!”
It’s always dangerous to assume we know all the answers, and to resist change because we don’t understand.
The truth is, we have to stop being caterpillars before we can become butterflies.
After my dog barked at a caterpillar the other day and I rescued the little stripped larvae (envisioning the gorgeous butterfly that would someday take flight), I thought about that caterpillar joke. How pitiful that the caterpillar didn’t understand the destiny of change.
I am tired of listening to Christians grumble that they “can’t change.”
And I’m not being critical of others. I’m just as tired of hearing my own complaints and excuses.
Like many people, I’ve caught myself saying, “I can’t change. It’s just the way I am.” No – I need to wake up to all that I have in Christ and my true destiny in Him. I need to step out in faith, courage and obedience – to walk as a child of light, pleasing the Lord (Ephesians 5:8-10). A child of light; that’s who I really am. I just keep forgetting the power that is mine.
Let me rephrase that. It’s not my power. God’s “divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3). The Lord is our El Shaddai – God the all-sufficient One – and He perfectly supplies our needs. Although the primary focus of this passage in 2 Peter is our spiritual rather than temporal life, God’s children attest to His care, even in the storms of life.
Still, Paul said he considered everything else he had “a loss” and even “garbage” compared to the “surpassing worth” of knowing Jesus (Philippians 3:8). He understood that to know and “have” Jesus is to have everything.
Many Christians don’t think this way. They don’t believe we have all we need to live a godly, purpose-filled life. They’re always looking for an allusive something that’s missing so they can “have victory,” “find purpose,” or “live for God.” They think it might be in the next blog they read, or the next Sunday message. The truth is, God is actively seeking to change my life and make me more like Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:23). I am a work in progress, and God has given me the Word and spiritual tools for change.
Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, “encouraging, comforting and urging” them “to live lives worthy of God” who had saved them (1 Thessalonians 2:12). But why did he tell believers to “make every effort to add” to their faith so they will be effective and productive in their knowledge of God and service for Him? (See 2 Peter 1:5-10; 3:18.) Why? God expects us to grow! Though we may face trials, God continues to work in us (Philippians 1:6 ). When we suffer and stumble, He restores us and make us “strong, firm and steadfast” for His glory (1 Peter 5:10).
When my husband recovered from knee surgery, we kept the post-surgery swelling down using a machine that streamed icy water through a rubber mat. The first time I wrapped the mat around his knee and plugged the machine into the wall, I thought it was broken. It took me a few minutes to realize a tiny wire at the top of the machine’s casing was not completely pushed in. What appeared to be powerless or even broken was simply a disconnected wire.
In the same way, I have everything I need to live a godly, effective life, but I need to make sure I’m connected each day, mentally and spiritually. I need to remember the cross, and think about who I am and what I have in Christ. The scriptures tell me my life is “hidden with Christ in God” and therefore, I am “qualified to share in the inheritance of the saints in light” (Colossians 3:3; 1:9-14). That is the truth. That is why I can walk in light. (I have been justified; I am being sanctified.) I can make the daily upgrading choices that align with God’s plan for my life.
God expects my cooperation – a willing, surrendered heart. So I will strive for excellence in all things, desiring to reflect the glory of God. I will pursue holiness and be careful in my behavior, walking in wisdom and making the best use of my time, doing my best to understand and follow the will of the Lord (Ephesians 5:15-17). I will “walk worthy” of my calling (Ephesians 4:1; Philippians 1:27a; 1 Thessalonians 2:12).
I’ve got everything I need for change; and if you know the Lord in a personal, redeemed relationship, you have everything you need. Believe it.
When is it hardest for you to believe you’ve got everything you need?