In 2010, God calls upon us to “Do a New Thing in Christ.”
We must allow ourselves to be changed through Christ and the Holy Spirit, to become new creations. Change begins when we decide to break bad habits, and resolve to adopt better behaviors. We are like caterpillars, ready to morph into butterflies.
Isaiah (43:18-19a) said, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing!” Scholars have observed that we are not reformed, rehabilitated, or re-educated, but are re-created.
Our ministry is to reclaim lives, recreate people, and reconcile hearts to God. To do this “in Christ,” we must help others experience spiritual transformation.
Paul in II Corinthians (5:17) said, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” Like the caterpillar in its cocoon, man can also become newly made. In II Corinthians (5:14-17) Paul reminds that, “For it is the love of Christ which controls those for whom Christ died, all in order that those who live should no longer live for their own sakes but for the sake of Christ… Therefore, the result is that from now on we value no man on the world’s standards.”
“The caterpillar has one essential function, and that is to feed,” we learn from Natural Psychology and Human Transformation by Dr. Na’im Akbar. The ungainly worm has no physical beauty or social graces, but rather is a greedy consumer of leaves, able to strip a vine or tree in days, directed by instinct to provide itself with nutrition conducive to its growth.
To emerge as a life re-created by God, man must consume spiritually to properly develop. We see the example of Saul (Paul), setting out on the Damascus road to do harm to Christians, and his miraculous conversion. Paul was transformed, finding at last the intimate friendship with God for which he had longed. Paul was re-created.
God also needs us to reconcile hearts in Christ. In II Corinthians (5:18-20), Paul states “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them…and that “We are to be Christ ambassadors.” God sends us out as butterfly ambassadors in whom Christ now lives, to extend invitations to others.
The butterfly emerges from the cocoon in the form of its beautiful parent, no longer crawling, but flying. It no longer eats leaves, but sips nectar from flowers. It flies above those who would have once trampled it. It is admired for its beauty.
Like the butterfly, we are blessed and favored by God with divine possibilities. We are fed on the blood of Christ, able to survive the time required for our spiritual transformation. In time, we will emerge, endowed with the ability to re-create ourselves as God originally planned us to be – we emerge ready to be Ambassadors for Christ!
We are ready in 2010 to “Do A New Thing in Christ.”
The Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis is pastor of the Church of the Open Door at 6001 NW 8th Ave., Miami. To contact the church, call 305-759-0373 or email the pastor at email@example.com.