Butterflies are some of God's prettiest creatures. Like tiny stained glass windows fluttering around they share a similar growth cycle to that of a Christian.
All of us, in one time or another, go through a transformation and become a new person. Though this transformation might take time and be painful, the end result is worth it, as a butterfly goes through four stages of growth to emerge as a beautiful butterfly.
Stages of growth
The first stage is as an egg; we start our growth out as tiny eggs, fragile and delicate. Needing protection and nourishment for growth, though people show hard exteriors and put up shields, when we give our hearts to the Lord we come under his guidance and protection until we mature.
The second stage is as a caterpillar; when we hatch out of our eggs we aren't butterflies yet but a caterpillar. Slowly moving and always eating. This is similar to a Christian life, we start our journey with God slowly but are constantly fed, parts of our lifestyle become hard to digest and as such we get rid of old habits, friends, places that hinder our growth just as a caterpillar outgrows its skin.
The third stage is as a cocoon; in this stage the caterpillar has reached its total growth. They build a protective shell to prepare for the next stage of life. In the Christian life this is when God fills up the missing pieces we lost when we shed our old ways and replaces with his love, grace, comfort, strength. In our cocoons we need to be ready to hear what God has for us and the work he has prepare for us to do.
The fourth and final stage is a butterfly. The transformation from a ground-based, slow-moving caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly is complete. When the butterfly first emerges it is not used to its wings and different shape and probably does not know it can fly right away. But once it realises its true potential and capabilities it takes off.
Much like a Christian, there comes a time in our lives when we become so full of knowledge that it is when we should use what we learned in ministries, church, and mentoring.
Scientists have approximated 28,000 species of butterflies around the world, each one uniquely designed. The Bible tells us we are 'fearfully and wonderfully made', so there is no need to desire someone else's Christian life when God has prepared our own purpose for each of us. And by his timing he will guide us through all stages of life.
Christopher Archibald lives in Sydney and is a Youth Leader at New Life Christian Church in Blacktown. A voracious reader, he ploughs through many books in a calendar year, with a bookcase that is constantly being rearranged to accommodate new additions.