More Than a Caterpillar

2 Corinthians 4:7, 11 “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves…For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”

Observation: Paul wrote as one compelled to lift upChrist. Filled with the Holy Spirit of God, he plumbed language to find words, metaphors, similes, that adequately expressed the reality of a transformed life. As glorious as the Law once was, having been chiseled in stone by the finger of God, its purpose was ultimately dark: to reveal the utter poverty of the human heart.  

But Paul lays claim to something more…to a power and a glory that will never fade because their continuance does not depend upon man, but upon God Himself. When His Spirit has filled a person, it is He who shines forth rather than a set of impossible laws. And the miracle is that this treasure is contained in earthen vessels, in frail, human bodies. None can take credit when the light ofChrist shines through us; it is God Himself that is visible in the life of the believer. Then Paul arrived at this instructive statement from today’s reading: “For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”

Application: It seems that God’s goal for me is that the life of the Lord Jesus would shine through me continuously. But how do I arrive at this wonderful state? By being constantly delivered over to death for His sake. Constantly. Death, that dread word. But should it really be dreaded?

Think of a tiny, hard-shelled seed that is somehow given a vision of the glorious flowering plant ready to spring forth. Wouldn’t that seed exult at the thought of dying in the dark earth? Or consider an ugly caterpillar, all prickly and standoffish. Once given a glimpse of the magnificent butterfly waiting just beyond the cocoon, wouldn’t that caterpillar be glad for its entombment? As a matter of fact, it moves willingly to the darkness of the cocoon, compelled by an inner vision of the life that waits on the other side. In the same way, there are things I need to die to in order to live a better life. But the difference between the caterpillar and me is I have a choice that is denied the caterpillar. I can choose to run from “death,” nursing and affirming my rights, or I can volunteer for it, laying down my rights to embrace the painful yet renewing work of God in my heart.

Prayer:  Lord, You have made me more than a caterpillar by giving me a choice in my responses to your invitations to death. Fill me with vision for life lived in You, that Your glory and beauty might cover me.

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