November 2019 - Vol. 106

caterpillar - changed into the Lord's likeness
From Caterpillars to Butterflies.

by Tom Caballes

"Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is."
1 John 3:2 ESV
When you see a caterpillar, you would not think it will one day become a glorious and gorgeous butterfly. From a slow-moving, leaf-eating crawling worm-like creature, it is slowly beefing itself up from within into a flying, colourful, and special insect. The butterfly is like us one day – we are slowly being transformed from carnal, sinful, proud, greedy, and self-centred people to becoming holy, spiritual, self-giving, and Christ-like beings. For now,  we are already new creatures from within [2 Corinthians 5:17] and are being transformed from one degree of glory to another [2 Corinthians 3:16-18]. Because we are in Christ, our time here on earth is like that of the creature in a chrysalis: no longer a caterpillar but not yet a butterfly. We are no longer wretched but not yet complete winners. We are still sinners, but we are already new creatures within: we are becoming more and more like Jesus day by day. Our transformation will last a lifetime, and our end-goal is to be like Christ in everything – in complete likeness in character, mind, and speech. Are you ready to spread your wings?  

So How Do We Allow God to Transform Us To Be Like Christ?     

  1. Be confident of who you are amid doubts, persecutions, and hardships. See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. (1 John 3:1A ESV) You are a son or a daughter of God at all times in all circumstances. Let nothing persuade in believing you are less than who you truly are. Regardless of your past sins, failures, and your broken past, you are a new person in Jesus. 
  2. Let challenges, hardships and trials become opportunities for transformation. Steel that is used to make swords is very sturdy and can only be transformed when it is exposed to extreme heat. We do not transform to become holier people when things are all fine and dandy. Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4 ESV)
  3. Let your mind be transformed by the Word of God.  Let your values, priorities, and opinions be held captive by God’s word. Transformation begins with the mind; then the decisions we make and actions we do in our lives. We also need to choose carefully the people whom we hang out with; they influence us in many ways.
  4. Be patient. Transformation takes a lifetime. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10 ESV) There will be times that we will fail and fall. Stand and rise up; learn from your mistakes to avoid those falls again.
  5. Let the Holy Spirit take control of your life daily and do not let the works of the flesh rule over you. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. (Galatians 5:16-17 ESV). It is a daily battle to live a holy life.
  6. Have a “holy distance” with everything good in this world. We are citizens of heaven [Philippians 3:20] Let nothing in this life allure you or amuse you that you forget who you truly are.
  7. Anticipate the day when you will become a butterfly when your transformation in Christ is complete. It would be worth all the troubles and suffering we will encounter in this life. ?
Other Scripture passages:
  1. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV)
  2. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV)
  3. Other Bible verses: Galatians 2:20; Romans 5:3-5; Romans 12:2; Colossians 3:8-14; and 2 Timothy 2:15.
For personal reflection or group sharing
  • What areas in your life are you having a hard time changing?
  • How patient are you with yourself in the process of transformation?  
Tom Caballes is the National Senior Administrator and a National Coordinator of the Lamb of God, a community of the Sword of the Spirit with 7 branches located throughout New Zealand. Tom also leads Kairos New Zealand, an outreach program for high school, university, and post-university aged people. 

Tom and his wife Mhel and their two daughters live in Wellington, New Zealand.


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