On Caterpillars and Butterflies

“if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;

old things have passed away;

behold, all things have become new.”

2 Corinthians 5:17



A few weeks ago at Bible study, we were talking about Jesus’ death on the cross as the atonement for sin, but that sometimes Christians continue to beat themselves up over past sins.  Forgiveness is as easy as confession, but sometimes we just don’t seem to accept that forgiveness, you know?  And one of the girls in my group said, “The sin issue is over.  Done.  To not accept that is to be as a butterfly who continues to live as a caterpillar.”


I got such a picture in my head when she said that, of a butterfly walking around on the ground and climbing trees and generally not using its newly-acquired wings.  And I started thinking what a drastic change it is, from caterpillar to butterfly.  There are not a lot of examples in nature, of an “adult” that changes so drastically from the “child” version of the creature.  Most of the time, the grownup version is pretty much the same as the young, just bigger.  But butterflies?  Amazing.  They have the ability to fly!  And not like the bird, which is born with appendages it needs, and must just learn how.  No, the caterpillar has no wings.


Christians are often compared to butterflies.  2 Corinthians 5:17 lends itself well to that illustration.  And it’s especially true, I think, from God’s point of view.


Take a look at these:


blue morpho

blue pansy caterpillar


zebralongwing caterpillar


Each of those butterflies came from the caterpillar pictured above it.  A Blue Morpho, followed by a Blue Pansy, followed by a Zebra Longwing.  And each of them lovely.  But if I had to match up butterflies with their caterpillars, I’m not sure I could do it very well.  Sometimes there’s just too much difference in color, or pattern.

Sometimes a butterfly doesn’t look much like who it was before.  Same with us.  God sees us as butterflies ~ as whole and complete and righteous.  Because He sees us through a filter of forgiveness.  He sees who we are becoming ~ the finished product that we ourselves cannot.


So keep growing, keep maturing.  Keep trying to see yourself as the creation you hope to be in Him.  But take heart that He sees you that way already. 


 ~ “Behold, I will do a new thing,

Now it shall spring forth;

Do you not perceive it?” ~

Isaiah 43:19


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