Out of the Chrysalis

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A chrysalis is a sublime symbol of the mystery of change. It’s an enchanting environment that not only provides caterpillars with a place to become butterflies but also provides thoughts with the means to become realities. This amazing metamorphosis demonstrates a renewing of the mind that leads to different behaviors and habits that then make us new creations (like a caterpillar to a butterfly).

Within a caterpillar the process of metamorphosis is regulated by two hormones (juvenile and ecdysone). The juvenile hormone delays the metamorphosis throughout the larva stage. It works by blocking the genes in the imaginal discs- tiny disc shaped bags of cells that activate when a caterpillar wraps itself in the chrysalis.

As people, our growth and change comes through strife and affliction. The strife we face comes when our beliefs and values clash with reality then alter our perceptions. Through this, we adapt to our situations and circumstances but can find ourselves blind to the things that lay outside of the range of our beliefs and values. Sadly, this ignorance can shut us off from the amazement of life, more importantly from the grace and love of God.

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. – 2 Corinthians 10: 4-6

Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Therefore, put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. – Colossians 3: 2-11

Right before a caterpillar forms a chrysalis, strange things happen. Cells in its muscles, gut, and salivary glands are digested and act as spare parts for the soon-to-be butterfly. Each cell is programmed to self-destruct through the activation of enzymes called caspases. The caspases tear through the cell’s proteins, releasing prime butterfly-making material. Were it not for the juvenile hormone, this could’ve happened at any time, killing the caterpillar. Instead, God programmed the juvenile hormone to lower its levels at the right moment for metamorphosis. The ecdysone hormone then takes over, driving the caterpillar to form a chrysalis.

For people, this brings us to the work of affliction. These moments of mental or physical pain either encourage us to go further on in faith with hope or dishearten us toward wanting to escape a reality that imprisons us. Having a true relationship with God allows us to make sense of the things that happen to us and use those experiences to benefit others. God knows the cause and the purpose for our pain. Once we begin to trust in and submit to God we begin to notice the cause and purpose as well and are able to experience true freedom in the Lord. Let’s encourage one another as we each work our way out of our chrysalis and into freedom in Jesus.

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith–the salvation of your souls. – 1 Peter 1: 6-9


My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. – James 1: 2-8

Darnell Sheffield

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