Romans 12 1-3
I exhort you, therefore, in view of God’s mercies, to offer yourselves as a sacrifice, living and set apart for God. This will please Him; it is the logical “temple worship” for you. In other words, do not let yourselves be conformed to the standards of the ‘olam hazeh (this world; this age). Instead, keep letting yourselves be transformed by the renewing of your minds; so that you will know what God wants and will agree that what He wants is good, satisfying and able to succeed. For I am telling every single one of you, through the grace that has been given to me, not to have exaggerated ideas about your own importance. Instead, develope a sober estimate of yourself based on the standard which God has given each of you, namely, trust.
Butterflies are such a magnificent display of being born again! There is nothing in a caterpillar that even hints at a butterfly. The caterpillar is “stuck” on the earth and all is surfaces. It’s perception can be changed only by attaining a different surface experience. It can climb a stalk or tree and “look down” at the ground. In such a way it can “get above” a certain surface but it can not rise. Then as if by some strange disease it begins to mutate into a ‘cocoon creature’. There’s this saying that is quite popular that goes “just when the caterpillar thought the world was ending. .. it became a butterfly”. It touches on the truth, but is mixed with human perspective. I doubt very highly a caterpillar had such thoughts of the “world” much less can perceive it’s “ending”. I do, however, believe it must be a jolting experience that causes the creeping, inching creature to pay attention in a way it never has to its own condition.
The process is another example that God has given us to see what He has instructed and the purpose of His instruction. I absolutely love how GRACIOUSLY He has done this with everything He has made and we can see if we are looking through the “cocoon eyes” He gives us when we take Yeshua’s (Jesus’) hand and begin to follow Him in the Spirit filled walk towards the Father who created us.
Look at the first line in the above scripture. Notice the “cocoon eyes” we are exhorted to look through?
‘In view of God’s mercies’
Followed by the action we are to take. ..
‘Offer yourselves as a sacrifice,‘
Let’s stop here for just a moment and fully digest what’s being given as such a delicacy from God here.
In all things. .. God’s mercy is to be taken into account before even our own thoughts have a chance to ‘weigh in’ on the thought that forms in finality. God’s grace is the standard by which we measure everything. The implications of this is staggering and fully points back to Yeshua’s words in Matthew 5 and 6 as something quite achievable in our lives every day, right now in this ‘olam hazeh (this world; this age; these times). As the Scripture goes on to exhort. But also notice it says;
‘Let yourselves…keep letting yourselves…’
Does this mean it’s all up to us? No its a surrender initiative. When we let ourselves do a thing. .. we give ourselves to the process of the doing. God does the doing. .. we let Him. Just like the caterpillar let’s itself become a cocoon creature. And right after we are given the ‘let yourselves and keep letting yourselves’ exhortation we are given where we go for the cocooning process.
‘Be transformed by the renewing of your minds‘.
Where all we do or say begins before the doing or saying ‘gets done’.
You ready for your wings? The very next set of words are the wings of this scripture. .. famously quoted over and over in Christiandom. Romans 12:2 – ‘be transformed by the renewing of your minds’. Ahhhh but most often the last portion of this amazing piece of information is left out. Hence the wings are often ‘clipped’.
‘…so that you will know what God wants and will agree that what He wants is good, satisfying and able to succeed‘.
This is paramount to the first famously repeated words. .. it points to the beginning exhortation to ‘offer yourselves as a sacrifice’ to the acceptable Sacrifice that God can accept… Instead of how we think; His Son thinks, instead of how we feel; His Son feels right now because He’s alive and living inside us to be lived in; instead of our logic; the Sons logic as it has been given in Matthew chapters 5 & 6.
I refer to these chapters in Matthew because it addresses almost every single situation one can encounter here in the world we live in. I qualify though. … every Word Yeshua spoke and shared can be applied to all our lives and every situation we come into in our lifetimes.
Want to know the purpose of the cocoon? Verse 3 of Romans 12. Where we “go inside” to seek the Father about how He thinks and what He wants. But also to get this “sober estimate” of ourselves before our thoughts (minds) can bring our actions to completion. To listen to Him tell you and I the ‘… standard which God has given… namely – trust.
And once we choose the Trust of Yeshua we are given our wings and have been grace-infused to be that ‘living and set apart sacrifice for God”…. Oh then! Then… we become the new creature and rise up with wings as eagles and remain in His presence. .. rising rising above all the world and its perspectives and fly in the Kingdom of Heaven we are so urged by Yeshua to live in, turn to, preach about, witness to. We can not witness to something we haven’t ‘seen’! Not seen with our eyes but with our inner Life experiences as we die to ourselves and live to Christ everyday in every way. It is a truly dead soul who can be walking along and have a butterfly wisp its way before their face and not be inclined to watch it fly.
I took the liberty of looking up the word transformed via a thesaurus.
Main Entry: transform
Part of Speech: verb
Definition: change completely
Synonyms: alter, commute, convert, cook, denature, doctor, make over, metamorphose, mold, mutate, reconstruct, remodel, renew, revamp, revolutionize, shift gears, sing different tune, switch, switch over, transfer, transfigure, translate, transmogrify, transmute, transpose, turn around, turn over new leaf, turn the corner, turn the tables
Antonyms: leave alone, stagnate
Notice the antonyms? When we by-pass the sacrificial transforming process of our minds by the standard of God’s grace. We are left alone and stagnate. We don’t die in a cocoon. .. we die as a caterpillar. Left to this world and it’s surfaces and our efforts to try to change our perspectives. … using logic as man can. .. by their measure of grace. Which we all must know isn’t even as abundant in size as an atom. The world’s grace (which is NOT grace) but limited mercy; is based on tit for tat; you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours; if they call, I’ll call, if they. .. then I’ll; eye for eye; tooth for tooth; life for life; earn and reward… and the list goes on and on and on. With statements like. ..’but they. ..’; ‘well you saw what they. …’; ‘if you wouldn’t have. ..’; or ‘if you would have. ..’; and justification after reasoning after justification. Cocoon killing. ..caterpillar remaining graceless living too often disguised as Christianity because the words get quoted and not lived.
Oh but to be a butterfly! Shall I tell you what a delight it is to humbly always be lifted by the measure of God’s grace; like a wind to send me Aloft into the grace of giving the kind of grace He gives and experience the Life of Yeshua within my own flesh here in such a hard and imperfect world. If only. .. if only I could tell you and the mere words would send you into a surrender of cocoon living! Ahhhh… but that is Adonai’s job. Not mine. I’m just a little winged witness. .. May His will be done. .. on earth as it is in heaven!
Grace and peace in Yeshua the Messiah