Jen’s Gem: God has a purpose and plan for your life.
This week, I said goodbye to my grill of eight years. I remember the day I purchased it and how I overcame my fear of lighting it. Steaks, chops, chicken and even a veggie now and then were prepared on this old friend to the delight of my children and I.
Alas, when I removed the cover, many parts were covered in an ashy substance and looking pretty scary. While I may have attempted to light it in an open space, I knew doing so on an enclosed balcony would not end well. My neighbors agreed!
I was prepared to toss the entire thing until I noticed something underneath the grill. Its stand had a big circle in the middle. Hmm…would one of my planters fit inside? I gave it a try and voila! Not only did it fit but it looks like it was made for it. Talk about a new life!
Interestingly, this weekend I found many new uses for old things. Vases that were relegated to the backs of cabinets were filled with artificial flowers that look so real, even my gardener extraordinaire friend couldn’t tell the difference.
A new life for old things. What was essentially unusable, even unwanted now has a purpose.
This is exactly what the Bible teaches us about our relationship with God through His Son. We become a whole new creation. Not recycled as I did with my vase and grill stand. No. We become a brand new creature.
“Therefore, 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 NKJV)
Think of the caterpillar. When it emerges from its chrysalis, it doesn’t become a better caterpillar. No, it transforms into an entirely new insect! It’s pretty amazing, don’t you think? It looks and acts nothing like its former self.
A caterpillar crawls. A butterfly flies. A caterpillar is well, not too pretty. A butterfly can take your breath away.
When I began my walk with God nearly a decade ago, I did not want to be a better Jennifer. I wanted to become a new Jennifer. I wanted to discover who God created me to be, what He thought and had planned for my life and that of my children. I didn’t simply want to change habits and routines (my “do”), but rather who I was on the inside (my “who”).
I wanted my life to have new meaning and purpose,
like the butterfly. Can you imagine how it must feel on the first day out of its cocoon? The freedom it must experience no longer bound by “four walls”? Exhilarating is the only word I can think of.
This is how the apostles must’ve felt when they chose to follow Jesus. They left their old lives behind and became entirely new people. Fisherman became leaders of churches (Peter). Tax collectors became teachers of the Gospel (Matthew). Terrorists became evangelists (Paul).
Transformed because of their relationship with the Son of God. Forever changed, never to look back. Who doesn’t want this?
“Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you. Conquerors will sit alongside me at the head table, just as I, having “conquered, took the place of honor at the side of my Father. That’s my gift to the conquerors!” (Revelation 3:20-21 MSG)
We are living in troubling times. You don’t need me to tell you this. There are days when a cocoon sounds perfect – shut out the world and make it go away. Yet, this is not the life God has planned for us. As the verse above says, we are conquerors. Actually, we are more than conquerors as it says in Romans:
“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37 NKJV)
God’s plan for the caterpillar is to transform it into a butterfly. He also wants to transform us so that we too can have a new life, a better life, eternal life. (John 10:28-30 NKJV)