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Friday, July 18, 2014

Are You Struggling Against Your Chrysalis?

Drum Roll! The winner of the drawing for an autographed copy of SuperGal vs. God, Lori Hynson's new book, is...Mary Ann. Congratulations, Mary Ann, and thank you to everyone who put your name in the drawing. 



You've most likely heard the story of the man who saw a cocoon of a developing butterfly and felt sorry for it. His heart went out to the butterfly which seemed to be struggling inside it's chrysalis.

In an effort to help the little creature, he took a very sharp knife and very, very carefully sliced the cocoon open so that the butterfly was exposed and could easily escape its confines.

But to the man's shock, the butterfly emerged with prematurely formed wings. The wings hadn't had enough time to finish growing and within a short time, the butterfly died. The man thought he was doing a good deed, but he actually created a disaster. It turns out that a butterfly's strong wings are developed by the struggle to emerge from the chrysalis.

I thought of that story the other day when I read a portion of Scripture that I'd heard many times, but had never paid close attention to a particular phrase in it. It's James 1:2-4. Here it is in several versions. Notice the highlighted phrase.

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. (MSG)

Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing. (AMP)

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (NASB)

There are two ways to think of this:
  • We are the man cutting the constraints of the butterfly (another person). We're rescuing others from the struggles God wants them to have. It's called "co-dependency" and we take actions which prevent or alleviate the trials or temptations of another person.
  • We are the butterfly cutting ourselves out of the chrysalis prematurely. We resist what God wants to do in us through our trials and temptations.
So, the story of the butterfly and those verses prompted me to ask myself, "How do I try to escape the confines of trials and temptations (Tweet That!) and thus cut short and prematurely end the work of sanctification that God is doing?" (Or how do I rescue others?)

After all, the Apostle James
is writing to a group of Christians who are suffering and he shares God's perspective of their trials. James encourages them to not question God about what He is allowing, but to cooperate with His purposes.

So how do I reject that wisdom?
  • When someone gently points out one of my faults, I get angry, defensive, and point back some fault of theirs.
  • I think I don't deserve to go through trials; I'm entitled to a happy life.
  • I reject the idea that it is God at work. It's just someone treating me badly.
  • I think I don't have anything that bad that needs to be changed.
  • I don't see the connection between suffering and my growth.
Since some of my resistance to suffering, enduring, or changing is based in seeing God's hand in it, I then asked myself, "What does my resistance to enduring through trials and temptations say about God?" Hmmm, let's see:
  • He doesn't know what He's doing.
  • He doesn't really love me otherwise He wouldn't make (or allow) things to be difficult.
  • He's powerless to deliver me.
  • He is ignorant of my struggle.
  • He doesn't care enough to be "present" with me in my struggle.
Can you think of other ways we resist enduring or other ways that we believe lies about God?

 In the end, do we want to be a beautiful butterfly or a butterfly with unformed wings as we emerge from our chrysalis? That's our choice.

1 comment:

  1. This is very thought-provoking. I definitely want to be all that God has for me, but human nature "kicks against the goads" as is said of Paul the apostle.

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