Wednesday, May 26, 2010

New Creation

“If traces of Christ’s love-artistry be upon me, may He work on with His divine brush until the complete image be obtained and I be made a perfect copy of Him, my Master.”
~Unknown Puritan~

It starts out as a rather ugly creature and a pest in agriculture. Some can inflate parts of their body to resemble a snake. Others produce pungent chemicals in order to protect against predators. Even though these creatures contain six tiny eyelets on their heads, they have horrible vision. This unsightly, smelly pest with poor eyesight is the common caterpillar.

Children are often fascinated with the lifecycle of a caterpillar—catching the larva, putting it in a jar, and watching it transform from an ugly caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly. When the graceful, delicate, often colorful butterfly bursts forth from a cocoon, it is awe-inspiring. Could this beautiful new creation truly have started out as the ugly caterpillar?

In Ephesians 4:7-32, Paul contrasts the old life with the new life, and the description is much like that of a caterpillar that has been transformed into a butterfly. Just as the caterpillar has terrible eyesight, Paul describes unbelieving Gentiles as “darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts” (Eph. 4:18). They suffer from spiritual blindness—a condition much more severe than physical blindness. The spiritual odor they emit is unpleasant, for, “Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more” (Eph. 4:19). And they have no solid ground upon which to stand, but they are “tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming” (Eph. 4:14). The picture of the old life is one of spiritual ignorance that leads to death.

Here is the good news: not one person has to remain in that state! For like the caterpillar that transforms into a butterfly, Jesus offers to change us into purpose-filled people who beautifully reflect His glory! Paul urges believers to put off their old self and grow into maturity. The mature, adult stage of the butterfly is called the imago. Our goal as believers is to imago (image) God, reflecting His majesty. Putting off the putrid scent of impurity, the colorful wings we are to possess are truth-speaking, honest labor, wholesome speech, forgiving spirits, kindness, and compassion. It is by grace we are saved through faith in Christ alone (Eph. 2:8). But following our conversion and in participation with the Holy Spirit, we must grow in Him “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 2:13).

What is the spiritual state of your soul? Have you given your heart to Jesus and let Him transform you into a new creation? If not, He is waiting for you with arms of love to make something beautiful out of your life, no matter what your past has been! Jesus has the power to make something majestic out of larva! If you have given your heart to Him, in what areas do you need to grow into maturity and imago the God who created you to beautifully reflect Him? Invite the Holy Spirit to change your life into something of splendor!


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