Tag: free

Metamorphosis

IMG_1097Butterflies are beautiful. I especially like the monarch butterflies that get their nourishment from nectar contained in my lantana bushes. As I observe these amazing creatures as they flit from flower to flower, I often reflect on the fact that they have not always been as beautiful and free as they are now.

Young butterflies are very different from adult butterflies. They have actually gone through a great change in their appearance and function. They look different, move differently and even eat different kinds of food. Even their purpose changes. Whereas the caterpillar lives to eat, the butterfly lives to reproduce.

The metamorphosis has four stages. The egg develops into a caterpillar. The main function of the caterpillar is eating. As it grows, it sheds its skin four or five times, storing food to be used later. A full grown caterpillar stops eating and forms a pupa (called a chrysalis in butterflies and a cocoon in moths). When that stage is finally complete, what emerges is what most people think of when they consider butterflies – those beautifully colored insects that frequent my lantana.

Even though I am aware that the caterpillar turns into a butterfly, I do not sit and watch caterpillars. They are not attractive. They are sluggish. They cannot fly. It is when they have been released from their confinement that the beauty and the freedom of the butterflies capture my delight.

The metamorphosis that takes place in the life of a butterfly is similar to what happens to us when we become Christians and make Christ the Lord of our lives. We don’t lose our original identity, but we are transformed with a new purpose. We have been released from our bondage and are free.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2). John MacArthur says, “The English word metamorphosis comes from the Greek word used in this verse translated ‘transformed.’ It speaks of a total change and involves a choice: to express your new nature through holy living or to allow your flesh to act unrighteously…. Only the believer with a spiritually transformed mind can resist the world, the flesh and the devil.”

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1 ESV).

Missed Opportunities

I love a bargain. Better still, I love finding something fun or useful free. In many cases, I have stocked up on clearance non-perishables at my local dollar or grocery stores. I have even brought home items free from other people’s discard piles.

KINDLE_CAMERA_1383666444000When I lived in Germany, I often came home from a walk with items that left my husband scratching his head. I still have those sleds, baskets, dishes and other things used for decorating or repurposed in my yard. I knew that many German flea markets were stocked with these spermuhl items. If I got them before a dealer did, it was free. Even in America, if you see something put out for bulky item collection day, it is yours if you grab it before the truck shows up.

Although I am pretty good at bagging bargains or free items, I have kicked myself for the ones that got away. In every case, I missed getting something because I waited too long. I sometimes take one sale item home just to test it to make sure it is something I will use. If I wait too long to test it or go back to the store, I find that they were snatched up by someone else.

The same thing happens with free items. When I noticed that a neighbor had put a very unusual chair out for collection, I waited until after dinner to go out to get it. It was gone. On a walk, I saw a great headboard and footboard  – all solid wood with a Texas star in the middle of the headboard – in front of a house ready to be picked up. As I thought about it, I did some research and decided it would make a great bench. When I went back to get it, it was no longer there.

Those were missed opportunities to get some “thing” at little or no cost. They may make life a little more pleasant, but none of these things are important.

We can, however, experience important missed opportunities in our spiritual lives. God has often arranged circumstances for me to be able to share my faith. Some opportunities I took advantage of. Some I didn’t. I waited too long. A better time never presented itself. I had to apologize to God for not doing what I clearly knew He was asking me to do. I remember well every missed opportunity.

Jesus told many stories related to this, among them the parable of the rich man who had so much that he decided to pull down his barns and build bigger ones in order to store all his stuff – ignoring the source of every blessing. God said to him, “Fool, This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided? So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:20-21).

None of us knows when our last breath will be. Salvation is too important to put off, thinking that there will be another chance tomorrow or the next day. That can result in missing out on the most important free gift ever offered.

Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life…For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God…Now is the day of salvation (Romans 5:18, Ephesians 2:8, 2 Corinthians 6:2b).