“One day, the caterpillar stops eating, hangs upside down from a twig or leaf and spins itself a silky cocoon or molts into a shiny chrysalis. Within its protective casing, the caterpillar radically transforms its body, eventually emerging as a butterfly.” (Scientific American) I’ve always acknowledged that the transformation of the butterfly takes place over time…eventually. However, it has also been my belief that with the right exposure – let’s say meeting Jesus on a wide open road – you can change in an instant. Well, my belief was wrong. I’ve found that transformation, regardless of the motivation, does not occur in an instant.
“As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.” – Acts 9:3
If you attend church semi-regularly, you have probably heard about Paul’s (Saul) Damascus experience (Acts 9). On his way to kill and imprison followers of Christ, Paul met Jesus. It’s important to note that Paul believed he was doing this for God. He believed that Christ followers were blasphemous. Verse 3 tells us that “suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.” At that point Paul fell to the ground and heard Jesus speak. The men who were with him heard the voice, too, but they didn’t see anyone. Can you imagine? That should change you into a new person instantly, right?
As it turns out, Jesus did not transform Paul instantly. Jesus told him, “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” (Acts 9:6) You see what I mean? Saul didn’t just stand to his feet and suddenly become a new person. Neither will you.
“For three days he was blind and did not eat or drink anything.” (Acts 9:9)
After the incident, Paul understood his thinking was wrong and needed to change, but he spent three days not knowing what was going to happen next. Even an encounter with Jesus where you can actually hear his voice will not transform you into a new person immediately. Change from the Lord requires you to process and prepare. Just as the butterflies created by God go through a process of preparation, so will you.
“Immediately something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes and he could see again.” (Acts 9:18)
After three days in the dark of blindness, Paul’s sight was restored. It was “immediate”…another sudden incident. But did Paul jump up and get to work? Nope. Paul prepared to be who we know him to be today. He got baptized. He spent several days with other disciples. Then, in verse 20, “At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.” AT ONCE?!! Paul saw Jesus in verse 3, fell down in verse 4, Went blind in verse 8, stayed blind for three days, waited on Ananias, got his sight back, got baptized, rested, ate some food, spent several days with disciples then “at once” began to preach in verse 20, seventeen verses later.
Your “at once” is not instant. Your “at once” will come after process, preparation and a series of “sudden” and “immediate” actions. You can change. But you will not transform into a new person overnight. When you get discouraged about the pace at which your life is changing, remember that not even a flash from heaven will change you instantly. So just keep moving toward Damascus – the place were you believe God wants you to be.
Kamryn Adams is a certified coach, award-winning author, and Christian Lifestyle Personality. For more visit KamrynAdams.com
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