Monday, March 1, 2010

“Lipstick on a Caterpillar”


Ephesians 4:22-24 Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything--and I do mean everything--connected with that old way of life has to go. It's rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life--a God-fashioned life, (23) a life renewed from the inside (24) and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.


For too long, the difference between the Christian and the non-Christian has been almost indistinguishable. But my friend, people should be able to see a difference between Christians and non-Christians because of the way Christians live. We are to live full of light (Ephesians 5:8). Paul told the Ephesians to leave behind the old life of sin, since they were followers of Christ. Living the Christian life is a process. Although we have a new nature, we don't automatically think all good thoughts and express all right attitudes when we become new people in Christ. But if we keep listening to God, we will be changing all the time. As you look back over last year, do you see a process of change for the better in your thoughts, attitudes, and actions? Although change may be slow, it comes as you trust God to change you.

Our old way of life before we believed in Christ is completely in the past. We should put it behind us like old clothes to be thrown away. When we decide to accept Christ's gift of salvation (Ephesians 2:8-10), it is both a one time decision, as well as a daily conscious commitment. We are not to be driven by desire and impulse. We must put on the new nature, head in the new direction, and have the new way of thinking that the Holy Spirit gives.

Romans 6:6 Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the Cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life--no longer at sin's every beck and call! What we believe is this:

Colossians 3:3 Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life--even though invisible to spectators--is with Christ in God. He is your life.


Too many of us are busy trying to repair our old nature and make it look good, when God's in the business of throwing out the old and crafting something brand new. When your car's been declared a loss in an accident, if you're insured, you receive a new car. But if it isn't totalled, you get it repaired and hope it runs well.

God has declared our old nature a total loss. He wants you to concentrate on the new nature He has given you. If you've spent years trying to fix up what God says cannot be fixed up, allow the truth of God's Word to liberate you from a very frustrating way of life.

To understand this, think of caterpillars and butterflies. Caterpillars are not very pretty. But once they break free from the cocoon of their old nature and become butterflies, the transformation is incredible. What was once ugly is now beautiful. A creature that could only crawl can now soar.

But this transformation requires a growth process, and it isn't always easy. There's a lot of struggle involved. But the result is worth the effort. How crazy would it be to take a nasty, ugly, smelly caterpillar and put lipstick on it? To attempt to make it look pretty and acceptable. I don't care how much you put lipstick on a caterpillar, it is still a caterpillar. Lipstick, makeup, teaching it good habits...will never make the caterpillar a butterfly. A butterfly is not just a fixed up caterpillar, but a new creature with a new capacity for life. A metamorphosis has to take place. The good news is, we don't become butterflies in our own strength. The transformation is from God.

From God's perspective, willpower is no power. Paul writes, "For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose" (Philippians 2:13 NIV). Our job is just to draw close to, submit to, and cooperate with God in this work.

I love Philippians 1:27 in the Message translation, "Meanwhile, live in such a way that you are a credit to the Message of Christ."

Today, I choose to die to my old nature (caterpillar) and become a new creature in Christ (butterfly). I'm not just going to put lipstick on my old way of life. I'm not just going to "turn over a new leaf." That very seldom works. I need a metamorphosis to take place in my life. I need God to reproduce His character in me. I want to live in such a way that I am a credit to the message of Jesus Christ. How about you?


"Lord, I am so thankful that I am a new creature in Christ. For several years I tried to put "lipstick on a caterpillar" and that didn't work. I tried to "turn over a new leaf" with my decisions. I lived a frustrated, ineffective life until I allowed You to change me from the inside out. I am now a new creature (butterfly) because of you. The old is dead, and the new is being reproduced in me daily. I still have a ways to go, but You are still working on me and in me. In Jesus name, amen!"