After the excitement died down tonight, I went to work, learning more about caterpillars, cocoons, butterflies and the journey these miracles take to get from one form to the other. Oh, WOW. I happened upon a 13 minute film of the life cycle of a Cecropia Moth. It was a BEAUTIFUL moth, not like those pesky ones that flit about above your dining room table, trying desperately to be absorbed by the light fixture just above. This one was spectacular with its colorings, shapes, and fullness of form. It was something to behold!
The thing is, the process and timeline of this beautiful creature's life was extremely interesting and somewhat sad. Allow me to expound...
A caterpillar goes through up to 5 different phases, called "instars," where it will shed its skin and take on a new look--coloring and all. I never knew this. After all of these phases, it then of course spins itself a cocoon, where it actually spends most of its life. This particular type of moth I was watching only lives a few days as a beautiful winged creature, to lays its eggs and then die.
Something sparked in my brain and spirit when I was watching this short film. Many people--myself included--have eluded to how a person's spiritual conversion is much like a caterpillar coming out of its cocoon, transformed into this amazing and beautiful entity... but now I see that this view is a bit naive. It is the view of what a child believes happens when his mom gives birth to a baby brother or sister. He has no clue as to all of the development that has taken place over the last nine months--he just knows that his mommy went to the hospital and they took out a baby, plain and simple.
The life stages of a born-again believer in Jesus Christ are much like that of the caterpillar. Every so often, we must shed our old self--maybe a way we think, act, or believe about certain things. What I do know is this: in order for the full metamorphosis to take place, there must be many instars, or sheddings, of our former selves. This is how we grow. It is meant to be this way.
This is not to refute the fact that when one is born again, they are a new creation. This is truth. It is biblical. The problem is that we are still living as human flesh in this sin-tainted world. We tend to hold on to what we "know" and traditions of old, even if they prove to be more harmful than good. This is where the shedding must occur. We must continue to take off our former selves--our ways of thinking, acting, even feeling--and assume our new identities in Christ Jesus. This happens over and over until we reach the point of physical death. It is then that we can become truly what the Lord had intended for us to be all along: that beautiful, uninhibited butterfly, soaring through the fields with glorious abandon to the earth and its troubles below.
Now obviously, this idea, this writing, has many loopholes that I would love to work on... however I am not trying to write a book on this subject at the moment... My prayer is that you would simply take what is here and ponder on your own just a bit about what your next instar will be. What will you shed next? How will you look during and after this breakthrough? Remember that these transitions are all part of our wonderful journey and not only do we get to live them, but we also will surely influence those around us as we move through each stage...
...more to come.