I Am Hidden In Christ

Reblog: Metamorphosis

“Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” ~Romans 7:24-25a, NASB

Can I identify with Paul? Absolutely. And I’m finding that it is often in the lonely desert places in my life that God reveals to me the areas that need work. The hidden spots of anger, resentment, selfishness and conceit. He brings them up to the surface so that I can see them for what they are. Yuck.

I don’t like that. I don’t like to see the ugliness stored up inside of me. In frustration and embarrassment, I cry out to him, “Please take it away!”

A question floats to the top at that moment:  Take the sin, or just the view of that sin? What is it I really want? Disguise or metamorphosis? Because the thing is, real change takes time and investment. By God’s power, for sure, this heart can be molded, but it requires not only my yielding, but also practice. That’s hard.

During a Sunday school lesson this week I was reminded of this slow process of transformation. We studied the butterfly recently, and talked about how God can transform our lives through Christ, just like that caterpillar is transformed from a worm to a winged creature.

In our home, we recently watched the metamorphosis process. We have a crop of black swallowtail caterpillars hatch on my parsley, and my daughter kept one in her bug jar. She fed it, kept its habitat clean, and watched as the little thing ate and grew, and ate and grew–and then finally change.  We noticed a few things while we watched:20140804_071716

  1. The caterpillar consumed the parsley with ravenous hunger. It didn’t stop to take a nap, nor did it deviate from the parsley. It ate only that herb, and it did it with amazing efficiency. Made me wonder, do I hunger for God’s Word like that?
  2. The little thing grew proportionally to its eating. It also began taking on a greenish hue in the spots where it had once been white. It began showing on the outside what it was putting in the inside. Am I putting inside what I want to shine through on the outside?
  3. Once it had nestled in its chrysalis, the waiting began. It took a long time! Daily, the question was, “will it hatch today?” I want to hatch now, but clearly it’s not time. Am I willing to wait for God’s perfect timing?
  4. Amazingly (and I know that most have seen this happen, so it’s nothing new—except it’s still mind-blowing) when that black swallowtail emerged, she looked nothing like yellow and white (greenish) caterpillar. We watched in wonder while she stretched her new wings, wiggled her new antennae, and tested her new, spindly legs. Everything about her had changed—she was brand new! This brought the Psalms to mind: “Why are you downcast, oh my soul? Put your hope in God!”

That kind of transformation takes time.  I’m reminded of the verses we started the week with: “For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.” (Colossians 3:3-4, NASB)

Who I am in Christ has not yet been entirely revealed. I am hidden, as though in a cocoon, awaiting the day when I will be revealed as I truly am in Him. What a thought! He is not done with me yet.

I am Made New, Uncategorized

A New that Lasts

mountain springJesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14, NASB

 

I have a friend who calls me the girl with many looks, because I’m always changing my hair. Different cuts, different shades of blondes and reds . . . my style is ever-changing. Partly because I get bored. But, here’s a secret I don’t often admit—I mix up the style largely because I love the feeling I have when I leave the salon with a new look. Love. It.

Here’s the problem, though. That feeling never lasts. I run on it for a week, maybe two, and then . . . back to the same old boring me. Tired and uninteresting.

It occurs to me that maybe I’m not the only one. The hair-coloring frenzy of my generation and beyond, not to mention Botox, elective surgeries, and our obsession with clothing trends, would seem to indicate that I’m not alone in the quest to feel fresh—to feel new and pretty.

So, I’m pausing right now. Thinking. There’s nothing wrong with a cute new cut. A fun new style. But what am I really after? I wondered today as I was driving through town, talking to Jesus about all the stuff inside me, what do people do when they don’t know the privilege of pouring themselves out to God? Now I’m wondering, what do people do when they haven’t been made new on the inside?

They’re trapped inside themselves. Oh, what an unhappy place to be! Stuck, unchanged, inside a heart that doesn’t know the spring of new life from Jesus. Caught in an unending quest for change, and finding that no matter what they do, the bliss of newness never lasts.

Destruction can have a pretty face. Miley Cyrus comes to mind. What a sad, sad little girl. Trapped inside a heart that is longing for spring.

This isn’t the life Jesus offers. His is an ever-flowing fountain. Always fresh, always clean. His is a new life that bubbles from within—from Him. A new life that lasts.

I am Redeemed

I am Redeemed: A Joint Post

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. ~ Ephesians. 2:4-6, NASB

From Jen

I was blinded by the devil, born already ruined. Stone cold dead as I stepped out of the womb. . . Lyrics from Third Day’s Saved.

Words that paint a grim picture.

I was thinking today about being redeemed–how can that churchy idea be communicated? A scene from the moving The Green Mile came to mind.

It’s execution day. Can you forget how the condemned man walks down that last path in life. Slumped. Beaten. Terrified.

“Dead man walking! Dead man walking!” The jailer cries out, a little too pleased for such an ominous occasion.

What does that mean? He’s not dead yet, after all.

It means he’s condemned. Good as dead. Hopeless.

This is every sinner. Each one is one heartbeat away from death. All are walking that green mile. And Satan snickers, “Dead man walking!”

This is me. Except I have been redeemed . . .

From Susan

As I was walking that prison hallway toward the lethal-injection table, Jesus stopped the jailer.

“No. I’ll die for her. She’s mine.”

The jailer sputtered. “But you haven’t done anything wrong. It wouldn’t be right to kill you instead of her. She deserves that needle.”

“Indeed. She does. But she’s mine.”

The jailer took off my shackles and put them on Jesus’ feet. He opened the door of the prison and ushered me into the green field of freedom beyond. As the heavy door slammed behind me, I knew.

I was His. He redeemed me. And for the rest of my days, I would belong to Him. Every breath I took would be because He died in my place. And every moment I lived would rightfully, legally belong to my Redeemer.

He bought my life. I’ll live it for Him.