Who doesn’t want a brand new start for their life, especially if the previous year was a difficult one, and you are resolved to make this New Year much better for yourself? All of us make promises to do better at something we want to change or improve, whether it’s relational, physical, or spiritual. Now you may be wondering, “What’s up with the funny-looking worm photo?”
I took this photo one day when I was out in my yard and noticed that my dog Bailey was pushing something around with his nose. When I went to investigate, I found him playing with this Eastern Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar. The first thing I noticed about this unique caterpillar was the two spots on its back end, which look just like eyes were painted on it. The different colors and markings on its body are designed by God to detract birds from eating it. This defense mechanism is called mimicry, which is defined as the act or art of copying or imitating the appearance of something else. In biology it is defined as the close external resemblance of one organism to another for concealment and protection from predators.
Many years ago as I going through a difficult time of my life, I began seeking the truth concerning the existence of God. I already had many misguided views ingrained in my mind concerning Christianity at the age of 32, and I laugh now when I think about some of the ridiculous things I used to believe before the Holy Spirit did His regenerative work inside my heart and changed my way of thinking!
Maybe you can relate to some of the things I thought would happen if I were to become one of those “born-again Christians.” For some strange reason, I thought I would have to start wearing long dresses and exchange my beloved rock and roll for gospel music. I protested at the thought of having to give all of my money to the church or wearing my hair up in a bun. I thought that if I cursed, smoked, or drank alcohol ever again, I would surely be kicked out of my place in heaven. In my deceived state of mind, I truly believed a lot of the things that the world defines as Christianity, but the truth is that Christ doesn’t require anything from us, other than to have faith in Him and a fervent desire to be changed. He sets us free from all those lies and misconceptions, and teaches us who God truly is.
The worldview of Christianity says that born-again Christians are judgmental Bible thumpers, fundamentalists, narrow-minded bigots, ignorant conservatives, and members of a cult. Unfortunately, there are far too many examples of this “mimicry” of true Christianity in the media, inside of mega-churches, and on television programs where some preachers and evangelists are busy condemning people for their sins, while begging them for money for their own private gain. They make ridiculous prophetic pronouncements, claim themselves to be healers, and then tell you that damnation and hell are your lot in life. All of this causes people to want to run in the opposite direction of such mockery of the truth. I would even venture to say that when such poor examples are displayed before the world, it’s not surprising that people despise this mockery of true Christianity and associate all Christians with this money-making business.
This verse I chose from 2 Corinthians 5:17 assures us that anyone who belongs to Christ becomes a completely new person and their old life passes away. True regeneration of the human spirit and renewal of the mind can only be done through the work of the Holy Spirit. When we make a decision to invite Jesus Christ to live in our hearts, and ask for His free gift of salvation, we are spiritually born from above and restored to a right relationship with God. The result of this is a radical change in the inner person, and over time, a changed life in our behavior. This supernatural union with the Lord leaves no cause for doubting, no imitations, no superficial resemblances or the appearance of any deceptive behaviors. This truth that sets us free is the same truth that will protect us from all the mimicry of a false Christianity in this world, and from all the “lies” that we fall for when it comes to believing in God. I always tell people to do what I did so many years ago when I was spiritually hungry and unsatisfied with the many other “ways” to find God. Ask Jesus to show you the truth and I promise He will, because He came to earth for this very reason. If you are not satisfied with Jesus Christ, then you can always go back to your old ways, because He will never force His will on anyone! What an amazing God who is so merciful and kind towards humanity! I have never once regretted asking Him to come into my heart, and neither will you!