Seeing a bunch of caterpillars crawling on the ground, I often used to wonder how does this ugly creature transform into an eye-catching colourful butterfly. People love catching the beautiful winged insect and try to keep them in the palm of their hands but no one wants to touch a caterpillar. God cleanses us by the blood of His Son and has engraved our transformed image in His palm (Isaiah 49:16). When we see a butterfly, we forget its past stage and don’t fully appreciate the process that transforms them but enjoy the outcome of the transformation.
When we witness miracles in the life of people, we only look at the result of their faith but fail to observe how their faith worked out for the miracle to happen. People who are aware of the worth of the caterpillars, harvest them during their cocoon stage to produce silk. The silky substance that the caterpillars weave to protect themselves becomes a threat to their lives. Two thousand five hundred caterpillars have to be killed to produce one pound of raw silk. We seldom give value to our transformed lives, but the devil knows it very well and devours people before they become what God wants them to be. Devil uses human knowledge to lure them into his trap by leading them to explore ways for their protection. Thus he stops people from allowing God to accomplish His purpose in their lives.
……… We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know.1 Corinthians 8:1-2
Before And After
We think that our difficult times and past sinful life would defame God. Either we try to hide our difficulties to proclaim the Good News, or we keep silent when our situation is not conducive to proclaiming the Gospel. On the contrary, we do not hesitate to share our problems with people who are weak in faith to ascertain that we are also sailing in the same boat as them. We feel comfortable and accommodate ourselves with the people who do not trust God. Peter sat with the enemies of Jesus and found warmth in their company. He thought that denying God might help him associate with them. Placing ourselves at par with the people who do not trust Him, shatters the purpose of God in our lives.
Somehow, we value our image and deeds more than God and His power. While striving hard to establish an identity for ourselves, we forget that God has created us in His image. We know that God saved us by His grace and not our deeds. Then, why do we hesitate to rely on His grace in all aspects of our lives? God can use us to glorify His name irrespective of our difficult situation. We are afraid to lift His name high amidst our problems. When God delivers us from our sin, we are reluctant to disclose our past sins, fearing that they might cause damage to our image. The scripture warns us not to go back to our sinful life but encourages us to expose our past sins.
When Jesus healed a blind man, people could not connect him with his old life, and finally, the healed man told them that he was the same blind man (John 9:9). While looking at the transformed life of people, we do not understand the process they have undergone to reach their destination. When we expose our past sins, we tell the world that we are not interested in our past life. While seeing a butterfly, no one would like to recall its previous stage of life. When God transforms us, no one can connect us to our old pattern of life to find the difference. When we expose our past sinful life only then can the difference that God brings in our life comes to light.
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.Ephesians 5:8-11
Unless and until the transformed people come up with a transparent testimony, it will be difficult to impart faith in others’ lives. When we share our testimony, if we do not explain the change God made in us, the prayer groups will claim the onus for the miraculous touch of God, and it will misguide the people to rely on prayer groups for getting answers. When we continue to rely on others for prayers, we might become victims of cult leaders. Faith works out transformation in the life of a believer, and the transformation leads them to receive their answers.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:2 Corinthians 5:17-18
Recently, I heard a testimony of a woman who is the mother of two children and nurturing them single-handedly because of her irresponsible husband. While nurturing her children, she felt the enormous grace of God that enabled her to look after her family as a single parent. She had developed a habit of thanking God for His grace at every stage of her life. She neither complained about the erring husband nor took any credit for looking after the family. She attributed everything to the grace of God and believed that the same grace of God would provide her with a house. God honoured her faith and granted her request.
With every prayer answer, some transformation would have occurred within the person to receive the answers for the prayers. Leaders and Pastors should make their inner transformation known to their congregants without claiming credit for themselves. This trend will impart faith in others’ lives, and they will ask God to transform their lives.
I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.Ezekiel 11:19
A Case Study
A slave girl did not ask God to liberate her to introduce God to her master. She forgets her agony because she viewed the grief of her master more than hers. We assess that our trivial pain is more than the unbearable pains of others around us. She did not think that no one would listen to a small kid. Nor did she fear the contagious disease of her master. She introduced Yahweh to her mistress, discerning that Yahweh had placed her as a slave girl to deliver her master from the horrible disease. She did not expect any appreciation or higher position in the household as her reward for the Good News.
Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”2 Kings 5:2-3
She became a channel of God’s love to turn the ugly skin of her master, to skin glowing like that of a young boy. Our present destination is not our destiny but a powerful resource to change ours and others’ destinies. While waiting for a fresh anointing or a better life to come, let us not lose the best opportunities to serve God. Our present life is the best opportunity because we have been bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ to turn many caterpillars into butterflies.
Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.John 4:35