Room for Individuality

I used to assume that all butterfly eggs were identical regardless of the species. Maybe some were slightly smaller and some a bit bigger, but otherwise, one butterfly egg would be just like every other butterfly egg. Oh, how wrong I was! When I started investigating, I discovered that the eggs of different types of butterflies are sometimes quite different from every other kind.

Some are round and others hemispherical. Some are conical, cylindrical, or shaped like a barrel. Some resemble a cheese wheel, while others actually look like a turban. Many butterfly eggs are angular, and many appear to be flattened at the ends. There’s a wide variety of textures, sizes, designs, and colors. There are blues, reds, greens, yellows, purples, oranges, whites, and browns. Oh, my goodness, there are some fascinating differences among them!

The same is true among human beings, and even among Christians of similar theology or the same denomination. We have different personalities, talents, and preferences. We don’t have the same spiritual gifts, callings, or interests. We definitely don’t look alike. We don’t agree on every doctrine, type of music, or choice of liturgy. In addition, there are many different relationship styles among us. Who we are and what we are like depends so much on our genetics, our upbringing, our experiences, our health, and so much more.

The Apostle Paul takes this into account when he discusses the Gifts of the Spirit.

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. There are many parts, but one body. 1st Corinthians 12:12, 20.

Another take on the differences among the people of God can be seen in Galatians 3:28. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

It’s important to understand that the differences among us are good. We shouldn’t try to be like one another, nor should we try to force others to be like us. In fact, there is greater health in our fellowship and friendship circles when we invite diversity into the mix.

A Butterfly Believer in the egg or embryo stage might want to keep in mind that even though there may be some important changes ahead, you don’t have to become just like everyone else. There’s plenty of room for individuality. You can still be you. A better aim for all of us would be to give each other space to grow into the likeness and the image of the Lord. That’s what we were created for.

An excerpt from the book Butterfly Believers, a set of devotional readings based on Romans 12:2 and the butterfly metamorphosis.

Embryonic Faith

When a female butterfly places an egg on the leaf, it contains the yolk: a thick liquid that has the “germ” of the future caterpillar, plus the food it will need until it hatches. This is crucial because even though the critter might be in the egg for only a week or two, it requires immediate nourishment or it will die. It is fascinating that in every step of the metamorphic process, there is a marvelous combination of beauty and function.

I think this is also true for human beings, especially in the context of the quest for spiritual growth. When we start our journey as a disciple, everything we need to sustain our new life of faith is in place. We have the Holy Spirit living inside of us. We have a sense of faith, even if it’s at the embryonic level. These two will sustainment us and carry us to the next level.

According to 2 Peter 1:3-4, His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

In the passage above, do you notice the goal of participating in the divine nature? That will be the focal point when we discuss the adult butterfly. The creature still in the egg isn’t even close to looking like or behaving like the mature insect, though. It’s not even a crawling bug yet. There are many changes that will have to happen before it gets to the finish line.

Similarly, there are many changes and much growth a believer has to experience before getting to where the Lord wants him or her to be. So, we take it one day at a time until we see the Lord’s handiwork manifesting in our life and character.

There’s nothing wrong with being in the egg if you’re brand new to the life of faith or haven’t even started yet. It’s totally fine to be where you are at this stage of your spiritual life. Take nourishment from what’s around you, learn from others, and ask the Lord for his help. I guarantee that his divine power will give you everything you need for a godly life, and if you hang in there, you are well on your way to participating in the divine nature. That’s God’s promise . . . even for those who are still in the egg.

The Butterfly Lays an Egg

When discussing plants and animals, a fundamental principle of modern science is that every living thing comes from an egg, and this is where the story about Butterfly Believers begins. After mating, a female butterfly deposits her eggs on or under a leaf, gluing it on so that it cannot be blown off or removed. In many species, the caterpillar hatches in just a few days.

Every one of us begins the spiritual journey somewhere. We might have grown up in a Christian family. Some are invited to a church or a small group that meets in a home. Others come to faith in Christ later in life. Whoever we are and wherever we find ourselves spiritually, the Lord reaches out to us and provides the spark of faith, fans it into flame, and our relationship with Christ begins.

This can be seen in my own family. My grandfather converted to Christ at about age seventy-five, living the last twenty-four years of his life as a dedicated Christian who read the scriptures every day and became a deacon in the little Baptist church near his farm. My father was a sailor in the Navy when he met a young lady who invited him to church. He became a Christian and they eventually married. I grew up in a Christian home.

I know people who turned to God during a crisis and found that the Lord provided the help they needed. I’ve talked with others who just felt there was something missing in their life and discovered a God who filled the emptiness inside. A few have told me they had a friend who changed so much after experiencing Christ that they were drawn to the Lord. There are others who came to faith because of a miraculous experience.

In 1st Corinthians 3:5-7, the writer uses a different metaphor.

What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.

In these verses, the Corinthian believers are likened to a plant or a crop. Their faith journey began when someone planted the seed. The Lord sent someone else to provide the water. The seeds sprouted, took root, began to grow, and then flourished.

The point is that we all have to start somewhere. In the same way that every plant or animal comes from an egg, each of us begins the spiritual journey like that butterfly egg. We are alive. We have potential. The Lord wants to take us step by step on a path that will help us develop emotionally, relationally, and spiritually.

Butterfly Believers Book Signing

On Saturday September 10, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm, I am doing a Book Signing and Meet & Greet at the Wordsmith Bookshoppe in Galesburg, Illinois. The address is 235 East Main Street, Galesburg, IL 61401.

Inspired by a study of Romans 12:1-2, Butterfly Believers consists of forty devotional readings, each one based on one aspect of the butterfly life cycle. In the same way a butterfly changes every single day, Butterfly Believers are also transforming continuously, moving towards spiritual.

The author presents forty specific facts about the egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, and imago, adding one or two appropriate scripture verses. The result is an inspiring devotional about moving step by step towards maturity, and blossoming into the beautiful Imago Dei.

There is never a day when an egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, or butterfly is the same as it was the day before. This is also true of people. The author uses metamorphosis as an analogy, breaking down the steps to personal growth, making it easier to understand, and making the process interesting and fun.

Paul Linzey is an award-winning author of four books and dozens of articles. You may contact the Wordsmith Bookshoppe for additional information or directions. Their website is https://www.wordsmithbookshoppe.com/.

Butterfly Believers

Inspired by a study of Romans 12:1-2, Butterfly Believers consists of forty devotional readings based on the butterfly life cycle. The intent is to show how believers are like butterflies in specific ways. In the same way a butterfly changes every single day, Butterfly Believers are also transforming continuously, moving towards spiritual maturity “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13, NIV).

There is never a day when an egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, or butterfly is the same as it was the day before. This is also true of people. We are always growing, changing, and becoming. There’s always more to learn, always room for more refinement.

Many believers struggle with their spiritual life and wonder why they’re not growing. In this book the author uses metamorphosis as an analogy, breaking down the steps to growth and change, making it easier to understand what it takes to succeed as a follower of Christ, and making the process interesting and fun. The book is for the everyday person-on-the-street who’s trying to make sense of what it takes to be in this world while living for God.

Each devotional reading presents a specific fact about the egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, or imago, adding one or two appropriate scripture verses. The result is an inspiring devotional about moving step by step towards maturity, and blossoming into the beautiful Imago Dei.

There are references to the lyrics of several Christian songs, and the foreword is written by Eddie Espinosa, writer of the classic worship song, Change My Heart, O God. This was my theme song as I researched and wrote the book.

The book is perfect for individual reading or for use by a small group or class, and is available by clicking the Book tab above or going through Amazon.

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