In my kitchen I have Butterflies! On my walls, fridge, dishes, plants, bookmarks – and stickers for everything!
The reason I love Butterflies is that I love what Butterflies represent. The saga of a Butterfly has always fascinated me and, since I found that the word, metamorphosis, comes from a Greek word that describes MY saga as well, I was more than fascinated; I was captivated! The fact that a tiny, often ugly, earth-bound, limited, caterpillar could ever become the beautiful air-borne butterfly that we all love to watch, is almost beyond comprehension. I’ve tried to imagine what changes must take place inside that hard, dead chrysalis hanging from the branch. It is inconceivable that it could contain anything living, and that such enormous changes could be happening inside. Yet, in due time, that exquisite creature emerges, dries its new-formed wings, and flutters away into the blue yonder!
This transformation is described as “metamorphosis” from the Greek. It is used four times in the New Testament. Both Matthew and Mark use it to describe the transfiguration of Jesus when His appearance was changed in the company of Peter, James and John on the mount.
Paul, writing to the Church at Rome, admonished them to “be not fashioned according to this age, but be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind…” (Rom. 12:2)
This is the verse that captivates me: “Now WE ALL with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are CHANGED – TRANSFORMED – into the same image from glory into glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” “WE ALL” includes YOU! And ME! As we behold God’s glory, in whatever form it is presented to us, it changes us. (2 Cor. 3:18)
You see, God set out in the beginning to “make man(kind) in His image.” He has not changed His mind, nor His plan, nor His determined purpose to accomplish this most incredible, miraculous undertaking. As the Master Planner and Designer that He is, He is steadily and faithfully working to complete the work He began. We are assured that God has “subjected” His creation to the vicissitudes of this Chrysalis of Time in order to develop His highest creation. Of that creation, you and I, in a living relationship with Jesus Christ, are individual members in which He has placed His Spirit. We have been “foreordained to be conformed to the image of God’s Son.” (Rom. 8:29)
We are told that we are “His Workmanship” into which He is infusing His “Divine nature.” And it is being done “precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little and there a little” … “till we all come…unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” We are promised that “as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.”
“Beloved,” says the Apostle John, “now we are the children of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that, when He shall appear,” (and we emerge from our ‘chrysalis’ in resurrection life) “WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM, for we shall see Him as He is. And every one that has this HOPE in him purifies himself, even as He is pure.” (1 John 3:2,3)
Something that I just discovered: in the metamorphosis of the caterpillar to the butterfly, only the internal organs remain the same!! That lends new meaning to: “Wherefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, they have become new.” Being “new creations in Christ Jesus” and having His Spirit dwelling within, only that new nature of Christ will remain, while all the old shall be done away! (2 Cor. 5:17)
Charles Wesley put it well in this verse from his well-known hymn, Love Divine:-
Finish then Thy new creation, pure and spotless let us be;
Let us see Thy great salvation perfectly restored in Thee.
Changed from glory into glory, till in heav’n we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before Thee, lost in wonder, love and praise.
Understanding that we are presently in the process of that grand Spiritual Metamorphosis, being transformed from earthy to heavenly, we should not then be surprised when we sometimes feel imprisoned by the circumstances in which we find ourselves; when we feel restrained by our human limitations; when we greatly desire to be liberated from the chrysalis that confines us; when our hearts long for something more than our minds can define.
I have tried to express the thought in the following lines which I call “The Chrysalis of Time:”
You have confined me in this Chrysalis of Time
To work Your Sovereign will and purpose so sublime;
To give to me Your life, my spirit to renew;
To change me from within; to make me more like You;
Transformed by Grace Divine into Your image fair,
I shall come forth at last, Your Glory then to share
So, lift up your heads and “rejoice in HOPE (expectation) of the Glory of God.” (Rom. 5:2)
In Agape, Eulene