Would you really want to crawl around chewing on leaves in a lumpy body with dozens of feet? How about if you knew that there would be a period of rest, then you could fly?
That’s such a beautiful picture of what Christians expect. No, we do not think it’s the same as the butterfly, but the analogy fits. We’re humans, tied to this earth, confined to work and eat and sleep and repeat. I wrote a children’s story about Billy’s Garden where Clarence Caterpillar did just that, then changed and learned to fly.
He did not change on his own. He changed according to God’s plan for his species. Now, let’s take a look at God’s plan for us.
God’s plan has stages for us, too: Without God; with God in us; with God. Too often that middle stage is missed and God is not to be found in us. There is no ‘fruit of the spirit’ (Galatians 5:22, Ephesians 5:9) to show how we love Him because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19) Once we’ve accepted Christ as our savior, the first change takes place and God is in us:
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. (John 14:16-17 KJV)
Then begins the change – the putting off of the old, and putting on the new:
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24 KJV)
That doesn’t get us to the flying stage, though. Those changes just help us keep His commandment to love Him and others, and show that love in our actions. The real change comes in the transition from this life to our home.
Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:6-8 KJV)
Paul speaks of this last change:
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:52-53 KJV)
So, I will not have the beautiful wings of a butterfly, but I will put on incorruptible immortality. He says so. I believe. Do you?