“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24).
Have you ever thought about the process of how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly?
According to The Academy of Natural Sciences, “The caterpillar is referred to as a pupa during the transition stage. Depending on the species, the pupa may be suspended under a branch, hidden in leaves or buried underground. This stage can last from a few weeks, a month or even longer. Some species have a pupal stage that lasts for two years. It may look like nothing is going on but big changes are happening inside. Special cells that were present in the larva are now growing rapidly. They will become the legs, wings, eyes and other parts of the adult butterfly. It reaches the adult stage when it finally looks like the butterflies we see flying around”.
This is so similar, in many ways, to the process we go through when following Christ. When we give our lives to follow Him, we begin to change. Part of the “proof” of true repentance includes a changed life.
I found it interesting to learn that butterflies are not all in the cocoon for the same amount of time. This is the same for us, as Christ followers. When we begin following Jesus, we begin a major transformation. God helps us transform by pruning us. There is no set time for this process to occur.
We do not become Christians and become completely transformed in six months. (Wouldn’t that be something?) Although we will never be completely transformed until we are in Heaven, we will all go through the process at different “speeds” here on earth.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17).
“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)
Are You Bearing Good Fruit?
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:5).
God promises us that if we are following Him, He will prune us. Pruning can sometimes (often) be painful, but it is necessary in order to stay alive in Him. If we completely surrender our lives to Him, we will bear good fruit.
Sometimes you may feel like the only fruit you’re bearing is raisins, while everyone else around you is bearing watermelons. It may seem like nothing is going on in the inside, but (like the former caterpillar) major changes are occurring!
The longer you follow Christ, the more you are transformed into His image. God knows the speed in which we are being transformed, and it’s not something that we should truly be concerned with. Keep your eyes on Him, and you will become more like Him!
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name” (John 15:16).
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).
Finish The Race!
Jesus has given us all we need to finish the race that is set before us. He desires for you to persevere! No matter where you are on your journey, you can always remember that as long as you’re following Christ – you’re right where you’re supposed to be. It’s easy for some of us (myself included) to think about months (and years) that went by when we weren’t in God’s will for our lives, even after we dedicated our lives to Him.
It’s easy to feel frustrated by thoughts like “I should be further along in this whole process” or “I’m so behind everyone else”. I personally understand those thoughts, because I went through a time just like that.
My husband and I both gave our lives to Christ the same year. I went through a few tough years when I was not following God as I should have been. When I finally got back “in the race”, I felt so far behind my husband. I was continually frustrated with myself when I compared my spiritual growth to his, and all it did was make things worse.
If you can relate to what I’m saying, do yourself a favor and let go of those regrets. What’s important is the walk you have with God now. Give your regrets to God, and ask Him how He sees that time in your life. When you have His perspective, you will be able to move forward.
“but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint (Isaiah 40:31).
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).
Lord, Jesus, I thank you for the continual transforming process that we go through. You do not leave us when we’re only half-way through! As we focus our eyes on You, we are becoming more like You every day. I will keep my eyes on You and finish my race! Thank you, Jesus. In Your name I pray. Amen