A caterpillar can become a butterfly

Picture a caterpillar - hairy and fuzzy; it is anything but beautiful. It lives in the dirt and muck of this world. But a caterpillar does not continue to conform to its world. It creates a cocoon, and to the world it appears dormant. Soon, a butterfly emerges. It spreads its wings and proclaims the virtue of transformation. Much the same thing happens to a caterpillar of a girl named Eliza Doolittle, a character portrayed in "Pygmalion" (George Bernard Shaw, 1912) and, later, in the musical version of that play, "My Fair Lady."

Eliza is a very poor, low-class, flower girl. She is a "gutter-snipe"; she has no manners, no class, no style, no education, no hope. She is a product of the world around her. Professor Henry Higgins - betting he can pass her off as a duchess - vigorously tutors and then becomes totally beguiled by the transformed and triumphant Eliza.

In her transformation from gutter-snipe to lady, Eliza overcomes her past. She not only becomes regal, but enables others to do so. Eliza becomes the belle of British society.

"My Fair Lady" is a story of transformation. It is a proclamation of success through dedication, effort, desire, love and hope. As Christians, this story is our story. Each one of us is Eliza. We came to Jesus as a product of our world. We were dirty and unlearned, unwashed and common. We did not have access to the places of royalty. We were gutter-snipes. But also like Eliza, we did not have to remain gutter-snipes. Paul writes to the churches in Rome and Colossae about the power of renewal and transformation and the ways God displays this power in our lives. (See Romans 12:1-2 and Colossians 3:1-17.)

At the end of "My Fair Lady," after her stunning success at the Royal Ball, Eliza returns to the home of her past. She sees the people of the flower market, but they do not recognize her. She realizes she doesn't belong there; she no longer fits in. She is no longer a caterpillar, but a butterfly. She is no longer a gutter-snipe. Eliza is now a lady.

The same can be said for Christians. We are transformed from sinner to saint. Our minds are renewed. The places and things of our past hold nothing for us.

A life with Jesus is a story of transformation. Jesus overcomes our past and makes us regal. He enables us to help others do so as well. We become the belles of God's society. Our lives proclaim Christ through the power, grace, and mercy of Jesus. We have access to royalty and the grandest ballroom ever conceived. Come, and dance with God.

n Ron Rhoads is pastor of Alpine Christian Community Church in Woodfords.


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