Jonathan's Perspective  

Feb 20


Ancient Christians used the caterpillar and the butterfly as a symbol of the Christian life.  We can see the before - the caterpillar, and we can see the after - the butterfly.  However, what goes on in the cocoon, the metamorphosis from the land dweller to the sky-flier, is a mystery.  What words can we use to describe what we can barely comprehend - God's immense power to transform our lives from a sinner to a saint, from mud-bound to living by the Spirit? 

What does the caterpillar do to participate in the transformation?  Essentially, all it does is make a cocoon within which the metamorphosis takes place.  The Creator does the rest.  How can we do the same?  How can we create a space within which God can do his wonderful, life-changing work?  The three silky strands that make up the cocoon within which we are transformed are bound together in devotional time.  They are Scripture reading, prayer, and meditation. 

First, by reading Scripture we enter into the world of the Bible and the story of salvation.  Our imagination is transformed and we are able lay hold of the profound truth of God's revelation to us.  As Paul writes, we are 'transformed by the renewing of our minds.' (Rom 12:2)  If we don't read the Bible - the story of God coming to humanity, the covenants, Jesus fulfilling the covenants and beginning the New Covenant, and the power of the Holy Spirit in the church - we cannot begin to imagine what God desires to do in us.

Second, in praying we are asking God to shape and form us.  Too many people pray only when they want something.  If you have children, don't you want them to come to you because they love you and want to be with you?  Don't you want to delight in them without having to bribe them with candy or ice cream?  So does God want to be with us through prayer.  God wants a conversation, to guide and direct us.  God wants to go far beyond us asking for things; He wants us to listen to His voice direct us and let His Spirit empower us. 

Finally, meditation is the most profound sense in which we enter the Holy of Holies.  Or, more like it, we allow God to form the Holy of Holies in our hearts: 'Do you not know that your bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit?'(I Cor. 6:19)  And Jesus told his disciples, '"Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them."' (John 14:23)  You see, you are given the Holy Spirit to make within you a home fit for a King - the King of the Universe.  Meditation is taking a Scripture set to memory - short verses or even phrases - and mulling them over with the aid of the Holy Spirit.  It is asking God to show you what it tells you about your relationship with God or others.  Then yielding to God to make that a reality in your life in practical ways. 

I encourage you to daily weave a cocoon about yourself during your devotional time.  Use these beautiful silky strands of Scriptural truth, prayerful conversation, and meditatively yielding to God, to create the spiritual and emotional space in which God can set up His home in you. 

Seeking 'life that is truly life' (I Tim 6:19)


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