Monday, November 21, 2011

For You Have Died And Your Life Is Hidden In Christ

This is a past Facebook "note" from May 19th 2011:

What does it mean to be hidden with Christ in God? God has given us a beautiful picture in His creations as to what this means to us as His children. Jimmy Giers gave us some sweet insight as He taught to us from Romans 12:1-3 Wed night. Let us never forget "that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse" (Rom 1:19-20)  

The insight that Jimmy added to this was the sharing of what happens inside the cocoon during the metamorphosis. This is what brought my mind to the verse I have been studying this week, Col 3:3, "For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God." So what happens in this cocoon stage? To see the beauty of this and the complete picture let us begin at the beginning.

It all starts with a mother butterfly finding a young soft healthy milkweed and carefully depositing an egg. 
("But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance." Luke 8:15)

Fresh milkweed is a must as this is the only food the caterpillar will eat.
("like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation," 1 Peter 2:2)

A time for growth has arrived. The larva is driven by one commandment in life." to eat and grow". In just two weeks the caterpillar will shed its skin five times. In other words, the insect must wear and outgrow five skins.
"How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" Psalm 119:103. 
"I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh." John 6:51.
So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.” 1 Corin 3:7.)

Notice how the old skin has been pushed back into a crumpled bit of debris which will soon be discarded.
("if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind," Eph 4:21-23.
So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh-- for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live." Rom 8:12-14)

At this stage the caterpillar is eating its fill. It must get enough nutrition from a sole diet of milkweed leaves to fuel the complex processes of the metamorphosis to come.
("And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death."  Rev 12:11.
"Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years."  Rev 20:4)

Signals from the chrysalis forming within compel the caterpillar to slowly begin releasing the claspers one at a time. Soon the caterpillar will completely let go. Its life is now completely dependent on the silk button and how well it has attached to it.
("I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing." John 15:5.
"I in them and You in Me," John 17:23.
"Christ in you, the hope of glory" Col 1:27. 
"who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself."  Phil 3:21)

A caterpillar to chrysalis transformation. The larva sheds its skin to reveal a wet gyrating chrysalis. The pupa must transfer its hold to its cremaster and drop the old larval skin. The chrysalis gradually assumes its predestined shape and hardens into an imobile waxy pupa.
(" laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him--" Col 3:9-10.
"For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;" Rom 8:29.
by loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” Deut 30:20)

The soft helpless "prepupal" insect lets go and hangs in a "J" shap. At this point life is dependent on the grip of the two hind claspers into the silk anchor. The first of many challenges has been overcome. Now a time of waiting has arrived yet the internal workings of the larva are very active.
("Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." 2 Corin 4:16-18)

Now the change to a final form of the chrysalis continues. I say "continues" for this changing of shape began even while the caterpillar was shedding its skin. It can be seen from the pictures that the basic template of the chrysalis is evolving from the "caterpillar that once was" to the "butterfly that will be".
("Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is." 1 John 3:2.
"Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed," 1 Corin 15:50-51)

The chrysalis is a perfect example of form and function.
("And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14.
"For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps," 1 Peter 2:21.
"Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly." 1 Corin 15:49.
"But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit." 2 Corin 3:18.)

(*Things in bold print above come from :

"The first thing that happens is that a lot of the caterpillar’s old body dies. It is attacked by the same sort of juices the caterpillar used in its earlier life to digest its food and it would not be far wrong to say the caterpillar digests itself from the inside out. This process is called ‘histolysis'.

Not all the tissue is destroyed however some of the insect’s old tissue passes on to its new self.
There is one particular sort of tissue left after histolysis. In a number of places in the insect's body are collections of special formative cells, which have played no part in the insects larval life and have stayed hidden or protected during this partial death. Each of these groups of cells is called an ‘imaginal disk' or a ‘histoblast'.

The imaginal disks begin to reproduce rapidly and develop into wings or legs or antennae, from the largest structure to the most tiny detail of a single hair or scale, building of a new body out of the soup that the insect’s digestive juices have made of the old larval body. This they do using the same biochemical processes that all insects use to turn their food into part of their bodies.

This rebuilding process is called ‘histogenesis' which is the formation of different tissues from undifferentiated cells. During this time the insect is very vulnerable because it cannot run away, and this is why insects try to choose somewhere safe to hide away when they are going through this incredible change."

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” (Rom 8:18-25)

Read again, “because that which is known about God is evident within them”, I believe this verse compared with the metamorphosis of a butterfly is key to a lot. God is not willing for any man to perish, but desires all to come to repentance. He gave His Son for the whole world, not a select few. He desires for every man to be complete in Christ.

I believe that just as this caterpillar In a number of places in the insect's body are collections of special formative cells, which have played no part in the insects larval life and have stayed hidden or protected during this partial death.” so do we.

In the fall man experienced a death, but I believe that God left within us truth, truth that will lead us to the Light so that we may have life again. The question is will we seek that truth, that light, or will we suppress it in unrighteousness? “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God." (John 3:20-21)

When we receive Christ, when we come to the Light, and by faith receive Him as our Savior, He becomes our chrysalis. In Him we die, our old bodies are crucified with and in Him (Rom 6:4-6) and in Him we are transformed and conformed into a new creature (Col 2:11). We are hidden in Him (Col 3:3) as God does this amazing work within us. God gives us a new heart and new life. Our old self decays and is being put to death while our inner man is being strengthened and being conformed to fit into the new glorious body that will be our when we are revealed with Christ (Rom 8:23). Just as in the caterpillar we take some of our old self with us, the part that that was fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139), the part that makes us each individual and unique.

During this time the insect is very vulnerable because it cannot run away.”
I love this. It reminds me of “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” (Psalm 139:7) “and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.” (John 10:28-29).

Oh precious one, when we belong to God we cannot escape this metamorphosis. We will be conformed to the image of His Son. He will accomplish His purpose, and He will bring whatever trials into your life that He has to in order for His will to be done in you. It may be painful at the time, but oh when we emerge as the butterfly it will all be worth it.

As I studied through the book of Romans in depth last year this is an excerpt of some of what God showed me then from Romans 12:1-3:

"Paul goes on to say that we are not to be conformed to this world. We are not to take on the mold of the age in which we live. My Pastor has said that we have gone from smoking in public and having sex in private, to having sex in public and smoking in private. How true this is! The world and society changes its moral and ethical character with the wind, but God’s Word does not change. He does not change. We are not to be conformed to this world, to whatever age we live in, but to God. For we have been “predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29)

We are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. The word transformed is “metamorphoo”, it is to be completely transfigured. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

As we look at nature, and we can, because God has made it clear that “since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made,” (Romans 1:20), we can gain understanding to this transforming through the metamorphosis, the metamorphoo, of the butterfly. This butterfly began as a caterpillar, stuck to the ground, the earth, he is of the earth. Then one day a transformation begins.

Oh precious one, we are born in sin, of the earth, in and of Adam (Romans 5: 12-14), but by the grace and mercies of God and through the power of His Holy Spirit a transformation can begin in our life. The caterpillar does not seek to become the butterfly, divine intervention, the purpose and work of God, takes over the life of this caterpillar. Precious one, we do not seek God on our own (Romans 3:9-18). It is only by the divine intervention and purpose and will of God that you even acknowledge the possibility of His existence. Then it is the power of God in and through the gospel of God that you are saved, by grace through faith not of yourselves.

Now as we look back to this caterpillar and his transformation into this butterfly, he goes into a cocoon. The word cocoon comes from the Latin word “pupa” and the time in the cocoon is called the “pupal stage”. My friend if you are a Christian you are in the pupal stage. “Go therefore and make disciples…” (Matthew 28:19), disciples are learners, pupils. Oh precious one, your cocoon should be the church, not A church, but THE church. It is vital that you do more than just pew sit on Sunday morning. You must get involved in a small group. You must get involved with the body of Christ. There are many who come to a church to be a part of a faith, but the body of Christ is THE church and they are in THE faith. It is here that you are able to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. It is here in these small groups, in the cocoon, that the “pupal stage” can take place. It is here that you first present your body as a living and holy sacrifice to God and you learn how to continually present your body to Him. It is here that you dig into His Word and the transformation begins. Here in the cocoon, the body of Christ.

My friends do not write off the body of Christ, the church, because of a church. Oh precious one, are you one who says you believe, yet you struggle to walk in obedience to the faith? Are you struggling to find out what God’s purpose is for your life, what His will is in circumstances and situations of your life. Then, my friend, you must get back in that pupal stage. The caterpillar doesn’t choose when it leaves the cocoon, and neither do we. We are not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think (Romans 12:3). If a caterpillar was to leave its cocoon before God finished his transformation, it would die, and my friend so will we (1 Corinthians 5:1-5, 1 Corinthians 11: 30, Romans 11:17-22).

Now do you see, my friend, why Paul writes with such passion. Oh precious one, I urge you by the mercies of God to present your body as a living and holy sacrifice to God. Be consecrated unto Him. Come out of the world and be separate. Do not be deceived by the traditions and philosophies of man. Do not be conformed into the mold of society, but only into the mold of Christ. Knowing that one day your transformation will be complete and you will leave this “pupal stage” in glory! From a lowly stuck to the earth caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly soaring in the highest heavens! “To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36)" 

(Excerpt from Metamorphoo written 9/27/10)

I could keep digging and digging into this beautiful picture of rebirth that God has given us. One of the things that Jimmy shared from what he studied on metamorphosis was from a guy who spoke of how the caterpillar in the chrysalis is completely broke down and then made into a completely new creature. The heart, inner parts of the caterpillar is turned into a goop and then is re-crafted into this beautiful butterfly. The man stated that in a sense this caterpillar is completely born again. “Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3)

Oh Father,

May I become goop in Your masterful hands and may You continue to transform me into the perfect form and function of Your Son, while I am hidden in the safety of Your Son as Noah was hidden in the safety of the ark. You are the potter and I am the clay, mold me into a beautiful representation of You. To You be all the glory forever and ever.

In Jesus name,

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