Friday, December 2, 2011

Transformed!

Have you ever thought about how a lowly, plodding caterpillar becomes a glorious, free-flying butterfly? At precisely the right time in its life cycle, the caterpillar attaches itself to a twig and forms a shell, or chrysalis, around itself. Within that chamber, it releases digestive enzymes that completely destroy what was once the caterpillar. From that pool of raw materials, new tissues form that are unique to the butterfly and in no way resemble those of the caterpillar. With precise timing, the new tissues develop into the new creature, complete with wings as delicate and intricate as fine lace.

But the amazing process doesn’t stop there. Before it can take flight, the newly born butterfly has to free itself from the chrysalis representing what is left of its old self. As the fragile wings fight to emerge, the abdomen pumps fluid into the wings to give them strength. Once the butterfly breaks free from its imprisoning shell, it rests upside down for sunlight to dry its wings, and then it has the power to soar from one colorful, fragrant flower to the next. The struggle is essential for the butterfly to live and to fly – if a well-meaning onlooker cuts the chrysalis to “help” the butterfly out, its wings will shrivel up and it will die.

If God has engineered this incredible transformation of caterpillar to butterfly (which totally deflates any evolutionary argument of “chance” formation not only of the caterpillar, but of the completely redesigned butterfly), how much more can He work the miracle of transformation in our lives?

In the physical, He unites a single egg and sperm into a completely unique being who develops from that single cell, not yet visible with the naked eye, but within nine short months fighting her way out of the dark, protective cocoon of her mother’s body to enter a new world of light, sound, and love. God knew that unique person before she was even knitted together in the womb (Jeremiah 1:5), and throughout her life He keeps track of every hair on her head (Luke 12:7).

Each day, cells throughout our body die so that new cells can replace them, allowing the transformation from sickness to health, from life to death (Psalm 30:2-3). A seed planted in the ground decays before it is transformed into a living plant (1 Corinthians 15:36).

Physical changes, such as water vapor in clouds condensing to form rain (Job 28:24-26; 36:27-30) or freezing to form snowflakes, each one different from the next, follow laws God established for these daily miracles we often take for granted. Chemical reactions He engineered transform elements and compounds into very different substances, with dramatic results that allow all kinds of observable and incredible phenomena such as those that fuel our cars and even our bodies.

In the spiritual, the transformation is no less dramatic. As we are born again (John 3:3-8), we become new creatures, progressively conformed to His image. Like the emerging butterfly, the struggles and sufferings we undergo are an essential part of that process (Philippians 3:10). Ultimately, the saving power of God’s love transforms us:

--From sin to righteousness! (Psalm 51:1-10; Isaiah 61:10; Romans 6:18)

--From death to eternal life! (John 3:16; Romans 6:23)

--From worldly darkness to His light! (Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:22-24)

--From defeat to victory! (Philippians 3:12-14; Psalm 30:1)

--From sadness to joy! (Psalm 30:5,11; Revelation 21:4-5)

--From anxiety to peace! (Philippians 4:6-9)

--From enemies of God to children of the King, joint heirs with Christ, and ambassadors appointed to spread the Good News of the Gospel! (Philippians 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 3:8; 1 Corinthians 16:13-15).

--From corruptible bodies to glorified bodies! (2 Corinthians 5:1-8; Romans 8:18-23; 1 Corinthians 15:50-54).

Praise God that through our faith in Jesus’ perfect sacrifice, He can wash away our sins, turn our sorrow into joy and praise, and renew a right spirit within us (Psalm 30). As we die to our old sin nature, we are born again and progressively shaped through sufferings into His image (Romans 6:3-11; Philippians 3:10). He can transform us from a sinful wretch to a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15) destined for eternal life with Him!

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection…11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

35 comments:

  1. Thanks, Frank, for your kind words and encouragement. May you have a blessed weekend in Him!

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  2. I enjoy reading your devotionals, and I especially like watching your dance videos (in a previous post.) Great blog! I'm visiting from Doorkeeper @reneeannsmith.com. Blessings!

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  3. Dear Renee, Thanks so much for visiting and for your kind comment and encouragement! It is greatly appreciated! You have a lovely blog and I am now following it!
    Love in Him,
    Laurie

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  4. ahh, the metamorphosis of a believer... i love this beautiful (yet hard) process. praise God for it, and for you.

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  5. Dear Emily, Yes, it is bittersweet, feeling the struggle yet knowing He is working it for our good. Praise God for you too!

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  6. Amen! Unlike the butterfly, however, we have another process to go: from the promise of immortality to its realization at the resurrection when our spirits reunite with our glorified bodies. We shall complete our journey toward Christ-likeness when we see Him, 1st John 3:2. We shall be clothed with immortality at the resurrection, 1st Corinthians 15:42-58.
    Thank you for the encouragement, Laurie; it is much appreciated.

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  7. Dear Ian, Thank you as always for your insights and scripture citations, and your beautifully said comment. It makes me long for that day when we returns for us to bring us home with Him and to clothe us in the fine white linen of His righteousness.
    May God bless you and your ministry,
    Laurie

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  8. "But we all, looking on the glory of the Lord ... are transformed ... from glory to glory .." keep looking, and keep being transformed!

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  9. Amen! Thanks so much, David, for your encouraging comment. May He keep transforming us through His grace!
    May you have a blessed week,
    Laurie

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  10. So wonderfully made! I get lost in thought sometimes in the detail of the human body! We were formed to be transformed! Great thoughts! Thank you for sharing this and linking with Evatt's Beautiful Mess!

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  11. Dear Lindsay, Thanks so much for visiting and commenting! His creative genius is perhaps reflected best in the intricacies of the human body, for we are created in His image!
    Thanks for the kind words, and God's blessings to you!
    Laurie

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  12. His transforming power never ceases to amaze me! I love how you step back and take time to cultivate a sense of awe through this post. Well written!

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  13. I am so thankful for the new life found in Christ! Great analogy!

    Blessings, Joan

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  14. How many people think it is up to them to make the changes so they can be saved instead of letting God transform them.

    Great post.

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  15. I am so thankful for God's transforming power.

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  16. Dear jamiejoy,

    Thanks so much for visiting and commenting, and for your kind words! May God bless you and your ministry!
    Laurie

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  17. Dear Joan and Shanda,
    Amen! God's transforming power is the fount of all our blessings. Thank you both for your comments.
    God bless,
    Laurie

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  18. Dear dfish,
    That is so true! Many people say "I'll think about getting saved once I clean up my act," or "I can't get saved right now because there are too many things I'd have to give up." Our pastor once said that repenting of your sins and trusting Christ are almost simultaneous -- that until you trust Him, you don't have the power or the desire to do it on your own.
    Thanks as always for your insights, and God bless!
    Laurie

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  19. He transforms. That still amazes me!

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  20. Amen, Pamela! How wonderful that the Creator transformed a handful of dust into Adam, and that He still breathes spiritual life into every believer.

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  21. So lovely, Laurie. I never tire of contemplating that transformation from caterpillar to butterfly. It's so amazing. And all these wonderful examples of creation just fill me with awe. Thank you.

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  22. Dear Laura, Thanks so much for your kind comment! Our Creator is awesome indeed! God's blessings to you,
    Laurie

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  23. And the shrouded outer form hides the wondrous secret that is shared between a soul and her creator. That Life has been placed within her and transformed her into a living icon of His very Self!
    Laurie, I love your beautiful meditation on the 'butterfly'.
    Thank you for sharing it with us for LACE today :-)
    many blessings..Trish

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  24. Hi Laurie - beautiful post. I love the scripture at the end, rom 12v2, great scripture. I want to thank you too for linking up. I appreciate it
    God bless
    Tracy

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  25. Wonderful post and analogy, Laurie. Transformed from death to eternal life by His saving grace!

    Blessings,
    Joan

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  26. Beautiful examples of transformation. Thank you for sharing this thought provoking post.
    Blessings,
    Charlotte

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  27. Dear Trish, Beautifully put! His life transforming us into His image and essence. Thank you for your very kind words, and many blessings to you too!
    Laurie

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  28. Dear Tracy, Thanks so much for your kind words and comment! Rom. 12:2 is one of my favorites too -- I used it for a song lyric. And thanks so much for hosting the link-up! God bless you too! Laurie

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  29. Dear Joan and Charlotte, Thanks so much for your lovely comments. You are both great blessings to me! May His grace continue to transform us into His image!
    Love in Him,
    Laurie

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  30. Wow Laurie! Just wow.


    PS Thank you for linking up.

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  31. Dear Laura, Thanks so much for your encouragement, for following Saved by Grace, and for hosting the link-up! May your Christmas season be blessed indeed!
    Laurie

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  32. You have chosen a beautiful illustration of transformation in nature. May we all feel the transforming Love of God in our lives....
    God Bless
    Barb from Australia

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  33. Dear Barb, Thanks so much for the kind comment, and Amen that God may continue to make us new creations in Him!
    God bless you too!
    Laurie

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  34. Hi Laurie,

    Thank you for this wonderful post. I just love God's amazing creation. I think of Him designing and painting the flowers and trees, and how He knew that the amazing life cycle of a butterfly would speak deep into our hearts.

    If we look around His creation, His messages of love and the power of transformation we can have in Him is everywhere :)

    Through His grace we can be transformed in Him - Thank you Lord!

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