Written by: Marnie Pouget
Remember that moment in Pixar’s, A Bug’s Life, when Heimlich transforms into the beautiful butterfly, but he doesn’t?
I admit that in that moment I felt let down. The overweight, unrefined caterpillar was supposed to emerge from the cocoon as a majestic, distinguished, exquisite creature. Instead he was the same old, same old with some minuscule winglets popped out for good measure. He enthusiastically embraced his new life as a butterfly but there really wasn’t much of a change to celebrate.
At our church we sing the old hymn, Just As I Am.
I love the words and the contemplative tone as the decision to surrender a life is pondered and accepted. “Just as I am, thou wilt receive, wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve; because thy promise I believe, O Lamb of God, I come, I come.” ~Charlotte Elliott
And it’s true. There is welcome, pardon, cleansing and relief. The calling to come, just as you are. Every time I hear this song, I can hear my sister’s voice, the clear, sweet melody and as I close my eyes, I am thankful for such mercy and grace that welcomes a sinner with a repentant heart. “Come just as you are Hear the spirit call, Come just as you are, Come and see, Come receive, Come and live forever.”
“Life everlasting, Strength for today, Taste the living water, And never thirst again.” ~Crystal Lewis
The offer is free. Just as Jesus offered the woman at the well, living water (John 4:14). He knew who she was. That she had had five husbands and the man she was with was not her husband. This was not secret to him. He told her the circumstances under which she was living AFTER his offer of eternal life. He wanted her to come, just as she was.
When Jesus called Saul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9), He knew exactly who Saul was but, God called Saul then and there. The zealous persecutor of Christians. Self-proclaimed as the worst of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). God called and Saul came just as he was.
As the teachers of the law, and the Pharisees brought before Jesus, a woman caught in adultery (John 8) they were ready to stone her. Jesus challenged the accusers “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7) The accusers all left and there was no one to condemn her. Jesus knew her sin but he welcomed her to come just as she was.
God calls us to come just as we are. His mercy and grace are free gifts. There is nothing that you can do to earn forgiveness and salvation. You don’t have to clean up and straighten up before you come.
But here’s the thing. I hear too many people who have “come as they are” and they want to stay as they are. They have miniscule Heimlich wings, to indicate something happened but, they have fully embraced their definition of who they are and they aren’t willing to let it go. I hear comments like “it’s just who I am” and “that’s me –take it or leave it”.
The Samaritan woman at the well, recognized Jesus as a prophet and went and told everyone about him. The townspeople came to see and believed first because of her testimony but also because they too saw and heard him. (John 4:39, 42)
The adulterous woman was not condemned but was told to “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:11) Saul, when something like scales fell from his eyes, and he could see again, got up and was baptized. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. (Acts 8:18, 20)
We are called to live transformed lives. Lives that are evidence that something has changed.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” ~Romans 12:2a
Romans 6, encourages us that the old self was crucified with Christ and is dead and we are alive in Christ no longer in bondage to sin.
Romans 8:29, reminds us that…
“those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” ~Ephesians 4:22-24
God calls us to renew our minds, to live lives that are no longer in bondage to sin, to be conformed to the image of His son and to be made new in the attitudes of our minds. We are called to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
When we come to Him, he seals us with his Holy Spirit and we are told in Galatians 5, that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
As we walk with Him, these fruit will abound. Who wouldn’t want more of this fruit in their life? He wants you to come just as you are but He doesn’t want you to stay just as you are. Don’t embrace in a strangle-hold your definition of who you are. Be willing to be transformed into all that God wants you to be!
He calls you to a Bugs Life. Or more accurately, a butterfly’s life. Where the transformation, in process, is evident.
Until Next Time,