“When the divine command comes to a butterfly, “Fly!” it feels no burden, no fear, no guilt. It just does what it has been made to do: it flies—and sings to the grace of God with every flap of the wing. It has the new nature of a flier that it didn’t have when it was a larva in the cocoon. That is what Scougal means by the “vital principle” of true religion in the soul.
But when the divine command comes to the larva in the cocoon, “Fly!” it does not fly. Instead it has three options for how it can respond.
1) It can sink in despair and say, “I can’t fly! There is no hope for me!” Or 2) it can soar in self-deceit and say, “I am flying! See, there is the ground way down there.” Or 3) it can do what St. Augustine did and cry out, “Command what you will, and grant what you command—Make me a butterfly, O my God!”
The true and wonderful thing about the comparison is that it points to the necessity and the miracle of the new birth. To be a Christian is to have a new vital principle of life in the soul so that the commands of God are not oppressive, but are the beckoning of a beautiful spring day and the aroma of a flower-filled garden. By the grace of God we have been transformed into butterflies. The life of God has come to dwell in our soul and it is now our nature to be up and flying for the Savior.”
-John Piper (read the rest here.)
I’ve been feeling especially aware of all my shortcomings and inadequacies lately. They can feel overwhelming–do you know seasons like this? Everything from my sharp tongue to my lack of discipline stands accusingly in the way of rejoicing in God’s work in my life. And yet, I know deeply that I am already (and not yet fully) a new creation in Christ.
My response at times has been, “I can’t fly! There is no hope for me!”
And yet, I am to exalt as Augustine did, “Command what you will, and grant what you command—Make me a butterfly, O my God!”
And so, I encourage you with what I’ve been settling in my own heart: Strive to be all that God has made you to be today; don’t wait until you become…
more patient, or
…to enjoy being His creation with thanksgiving. Sanctification and pruning are His works of transformation; trusting his sovereignty in that metamorphosis is our response to the Creator, as His creation. May we fly, now…and in time.