In Florida, at least, it’s that time of year where all around us there are signs of spring. The deciduous trees are not yet in full foliage, but lightly shaded in pale green. Wildflowers break through the soil and dance around the graves of last year’s annuals. New bird songs break the silence in the woods, a melody nearby answered with a far-off refrain, while prospective mates who have already found one another begin the courtship ritual of chasing and retreating, noisy chatter yielding to sweeter strains and ultimately to chirping chicks.
Strange holes appear by the path, making us wonder about what dug them – mud wasps about to aerate the garden soil, squirrels retrieving their hidden stash of nuts to nourish them through a new mating season, or something more sinister like a snake? I think about covering these holes up in case the creatures emerging from them might do us harm, but then I remember the parable of the wheat and tares (Matthew 13:24-30). If we don’t know how something will turn out, we should give God a chance to use it for our good!
When I used to live up North, spring was even more welcome than it is here in Florida, and I suspect even more so this year after the record-breaking winters. Faint golden sunbeams begin to melt the hard cast of snow, ice, and sleet, freeing the frozen earth beneath from its long period of immobility yet healing. Buds break forth from bare branches, promising delicate blossoms and vibrant greenery.
Spring is the time we officially celebrate our Lord’s resurrection from the dead, on Easter Sunday. How miraculous that the Creator of all took on human flesh, showed us how to live, sought and saved us, suffered and died to pay for all our sins, and on the third day arose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) so that all who trust in Him as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6) would have eternal life! Yet we should begin and end each day celebrating this truth, which alone can save us and change our eternal destiny!
Once we are saved, we are a new creature in Christ, dead to the old self and alive to His Spirit within us, giving us His power to make all things new – our lifestyle, character, heart, and desire to be like Him ( 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15). This change is so dramatic that we are “born again” (John 3:3-7).
In our dance ministry, we paid homage to that theme in our piece “Transformed,” (link to video) in which a lowly, fearful, drab caterpillar changes into a free, joyous, vibrant, high-flying butterfly. This dance begins with the narrative:
Transformed: darkness to light; earth to Heaven; death to everlasting life.
In the physical, how does that transformation occur? With perfect timing in its God-breathed 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 itself, releasing a pool of raw materials that form new tissues unique to the butterfly and completely different from those of the caterpillar. The new creature develops wings as delicate and intricate as fine lace.
But before the butterfly can take flight, it 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 strengthen them. The butterfly must then rest upside down while sunlight dries its wings. Without the struggle to be free, the butterfly cannot fly or even survive. If you happen to spot a fragile butterfly in this stage, never cut the chrysalis to “help” the butterfly, for its wings will shrivel up and it will die. What a beautiful metaphor of God working through trials for our good and His glory! (Romans 8:28)
Does this complex process of death leading to new life (1 Corinthians 15:20-49 )sound like evolution by chance, or like the amazing work of an infinitely creative Designer? If God has so meticulously crafted the life cycle of a butterfly, how much more has He planned for us (Jeremiah 29:11), not only in the physical but in the spiritual? Only God can make a butterfly from a caterpillar, and only He can transform us in so many life-changing and destiny-reversing ways:
--From worldly darkness to His light (Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:22-24), which represents the turning away from our sin and being clothed in His righteousness! (Psalm 51:1-10; Isaiah 61:10; Romans 5:15-18; 6:18; 8:1-2; Hebrews 10:14-17)
--From corruptible bodies on earth to glorified bodies in Heaven! (2 Corinthians 5:1-8; Romans 8:18-23; 1 Corinthians 15:50-54)
--From eternal death in hell (Romans 8:7; Colossians 1:21), to abundant, eternal life with Him in Heaven! (John 3:16, 10:10; Romans 6:4-11,23)
--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 (Romans 5:10) and children of the devil to children of the King, joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:14-17), ambassadors appointed to spread the Good News of the Gospel (Philippians 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 3:8; 1 Corinthians 16:13-15; 2 Corinthians 5:20), and even future priests and rulers within His Kingdom! (Revelation 20:6)
Praise God that in Christ, we are a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17)! Once we are transformed at the moment of salvation (Romans 6:4), His Spirit will continue to mold us into His image, if we yield to Him (Philippians 1:6). One day, believers in Christ will experience the ultimate, instantaneous transformation as He returns for us in the Rapture (1 Corinthians 15:51-52), giving us glorified bodies that will never age, feel pain, or die (Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 3:4).. Then we will be completely new creatures fit for eternity with Him!
© 2014 Laurie Collett
Amen! I sometimes think, how would seem my life, if I didn't come to Christ. I would probably be in prison, in public house, or - most probably - in hospital for mentally ill people or leave in cementary after suicide.
Christ gave me new life, so how can't I be thankful to Him?
My life isn't fairy tale, I'm not ideal, but I believe, that in His grace I will run to the end.
Greetings from also spring south Poland - today I saw next common wood pigeons, which came to us from Italy: they are sign of spring :)
Amen, Zim! It's not about what any of us were before He saved us, because we were all children of the devil. Everyone who is saved is a miracle as He makes each of us a new creation in Him.
May you have a blessed Spring!
Amen, amen. Bless you.
Thanks, Denise! God bless you too!
I'm sure that would be a lovely dance to see. It is a lovely portrayal of the butterfly emerging.
I enjoyed the dance video. Isn't the cycle of the butterfly wonderful. The work of the digestive enzymes reminds me of the work of the Holy Spirit in us as we learn from Him and the struggle of the butterfly from the chrysalis reminds me of the 'putting to death the old man' that we have to do.
Lovely post, God bless.
Laurie, I am a Florida girl as well -- south of you. I've always loved the image of the butterfly. It reminds me that God is transforming my life.
Thank you, Jennifer, for your kind words! Many blessings to you.
I'm blessed to hear you liked the video! May we die daily to self, sin and flesh so that His Spirit may emerge from us.
Amen, Lyli! I always love to see butterflies in our yard as a reminder of His transforming love.
May you have a blessed week in Him!
Yes, I love Spring too, and as lousy as the British climate usually is, we do (sometimes!) have warm, sunny days throughout the Summer.
As for the metamorphosis of the caterpillar into a butterfly, some years ago God has shown me the comparison between this and our transformation from having a mortal body to a glorious, immortal one, like Jesus has now.
I have enjoyed watching the dance on You Tube. Also I recognised the music- it was "Sparticus" by Khachaturian - and it was used as the theme tune to the British maritime soap opera, "The Onedin Line".
Excellent post and impressive dancing.
The depth and breadth of your knowledge never ceases to amaze me! Yes, the music is from Spartacus by Khachaturian, which I would guess less than 1% of our audience realizes. I didn't know it was used for a UK soap opera -- that's interesting! Many years ago we danced to similar excerpts from this piece, but we actually portrayed the Spartacus theme. The Bolshoi Ballet did an amazing "Spartacus" ballet also. The adagio theme surely ranks among the world's most beautiful melodies.
Thank you for your kind words and for confirming how the butterfly reminds us of the ultimate transformation awaiting believers.
Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." It is wonderful to know that even the bad things in our life combine to produce good things just as the butterfly's struggle to escape the chrysalis does.
Amen, Donald! He is infinitely good and infinitely great, so He has the power and the love to work all things together for our good and His glory.
Amen to all you wrote. It matters not if we are saved or not there will be troubles in this world. The huge difference for us that are saved is those troubles turned over to the Lord to use for His glory will reap us rewards on the other side. Grateful thoughts.
Transformed into His likeness! Awesome thoughts on How Jesus changes us from ugly into glory! (inwardly anyway) I loved your video and thank you for sharing with us here at "Tell Me a Story."
So true, Betty -- I can't imagine how unsaved people endure trials, but I do remember how miserable I was in trials before I was saved. Praise God that He uses trials to strengthen our faith, conform us to the image of His Son, and to give us experience and compassion to help others going through similar trials.
Many blessings to you,
Thank you, Hazel, for your kind words of encouragement and for hosting!
Love in Christ,
Hey love your blog, feel free to come share posts on my link ups at http://.theworshipset.blogspot.com I'm from Tampa too hopefully check out your ballroom that sounds fun :)
Thanks so much! I've linked up at your blog hop, and I hope you'll come visit us soon at Rhapsody Ballroom: www.rhapsodyballroom.com
Hi Laurie! OH MY GOSH!!! I saw your video and was so impressed...I think my jaw never left the computer desk. What a talented person you are, and your husband too of course. Thank you for providing that video link. Wonderful!
I just got back from Florida this week. I was in Orlando and Naples. The flowers were just beautiful, and I can't wait for this area to get to Spring. Of course, it will have to stop snowing first!
And I pray that God will transform me in this great time of Spring, and the ramp up to Easter.
Bless you always,
Thank you so much, Ceil, for your kind comments! My husband & I appreciate the support. Glad you enjoyed our Florida spring, and I hope spring comes to your home town very soon! May He continue transforming us daily as He conforms us into the image of His Son!
Many blessings to you,
Beautifully written and YES up north we are really looking forward to Spring .. the sun is out but it's in the 20's still. Blessings, Linda
Thank you, Linda, for your sweet comment! Wishing you a happy (and warmer) Spring!
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