Posted by: Tamara Harrison | June 27, 2011

Caterpillar, Cocoon, or Butterfly?

I recently watched a DVD sermon by Charles Stanley.  He used the example of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly to illustrate God’s transformation of an old creation into a new one.

This got me thinking. As humans we are always in a constant state of change. From child to teenager, single to married, businessman to retiree, etc.

Change is inevitable. It happens whether we want it to or not. Sometimes those changes hurt and confuse us. And other times those changes delight and excite us.

When we think of change we most often think of circumstances. It’s the things around us that change. But how often do we see the change that happens inside of our soul? I would argue that the condition of your soul is the most important change that can occur.

I believe that there are 3 conditions a soul can be in. All 3 depend on God’s grace and the soul’s response to that grace.

The 1st condition is the caterpillar. This is the condition before God’s grace.

Caterpillars aren’t the most gorgeous of creatures. They crawl on the ground, using their guts to pull themselves forward. Like a caterpillar, I was crawling around, trying to find meaning in life.  I didn’t know God’s grace. I thought God demanded things from me, demanded my service. And so I kept on crawling around in darkness.

Ephesians 2:1-3 says:

“You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you
how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled
disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we
felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose
his temper and do away with the whole lot of us”.

A lot of people think they are pretty good people and don’t need God’s grace to get to heaven. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, thinking “At least I don’t live like so and so…” Compare yourself to God, which is the standard He sets to allow anyone into heaven.

Can’t meet God’s standard? NO-ONE CAN. It’s impossible. Nothing you can do can make you good enough to get into heaven.

Mother Theresa didn’t do enough good to get her into heaven. Neither can the Pope. Neither can you.

Maybe you go to church once in a while. I knew someone who lived in complete rebellion to God throughout the week but said that going to church on Sunday made him feel better about everything else he did.

Can I tell you that going to church doesn’t pardon your sins? Can I tell you that good deeds don’t pardon your sins? Grace is NOT about actions. It’s about a relationship with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.

So how does anyone get into heaven? That’s where the Cocoon comes in.

Once God reveals Himself to us, once we become aware of who He is, I believe a wrestling match starts. Some hear and instantly believe, which is a beautiful thing. I wasn’t that way. I began a wrestling match with God that lasted far longer than it should have. It’s amazing that God was as patient with me as He was, because the Bible says He won’t keep knocking on someone’s heart forever if that person keeps saying no to Him.

In the Cocoon we have to accept that we can’t get to heaven on our own. But because Christ died for us, died for our sins, died to give us life, we can accept Him and gain eternal life.

“Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, God
embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all
this on his own, with no help from us!” (Ephesians 2:4-5)

If you call out to God, allow God to embrace you and accept you as you are, you will experience God’s grace. God’s grace picks you up where you are, no matter what you’ve done. You only have to ask Him to save you.

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and
believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is by believing in your heart that you
are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are
saved.” (Romans 10:9-10)

If you acknowledge that Christ was and is the Son of God, paid for your sins by dying for them, and did so to give you life, you will be saved. What are your alternatives? Do you really want to keep living like a caterpillar, crawling around from one temporary satisfaction to another?

Once we surrender to God, we stop fighting Him. We let go and experience true freedom. We become a butterfly, a new Creation. The old has gone and the new has come!  THAT is grace. This grace doesn’t add a bunch of requirements and rules to your life. Instead, this grace gets inside your soul and spirit and transforms your life.

There’s so much I could say and so much I feel I need to explain. But I have to trust that the Holy Spirit will make this all clear to those who read it. Salvation is something so complex not even the smartest men on earth can figure it out, but yet it is so simple that even a 5 year old can understand it.

We are all crawling caterpillars in need of God’s grace. We all—every single one of us—at some point, enter into the Cocoon in which we say yes or no to God. And if we say yes, we all—no matter how good or how bad we’ve been—become a butterfly, a new Creation.

It’s up to you now. What stage are you at? If you’ve said “yes” to God, I’d love to hear about your “wrestling match” with God in the Cocoon. Submit your story in the “comments” and encourage us all!

If you’ve yet to say “yes” to God, what’s holding you back? I’d love to hear from you too.

Listen to these awesome words about God’s Grace:

Photo Credit



  1. Tamara,
    A friend of mine passed this along today and I thought it fitting to share:
    ‘God deliberately puts us in places where our weaknesses are obvious – so that the brililance of His power doens’t have to compete with our supposed abilities.’
    What a blessed thought, that God is at work in changing us…we need to be moldable, but we don’t have to rely on our own strength/ability. Thanks for your post. Such a blessing!
    Jayne ❤

    • wow Jayne, that is such a good quote, and it’s so true! Thanks for sharing it. Love you girl!!!

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