Thursday, August 5, 2004
Caterpillars are, well, ugly. Butterflies are beautiful! I have known people with butterfly collections. I've never known anyone with a caterpillar collection, actually. My guess is that every caterpillar gets pretty fed up inching along instead of flying. They get fed up with being hairy and ugly instead of being colorful and eye-catching. But, fed up won't do it. The caterpillar actually has to get into this cocoon and get metamorphed. Now, it's a word that we have for that miraculous process. It means changing your form - metamorphosis - right? There's something for you in that cocoon, by the way, especially if you're tired of crawling spiritually or if your spiritual experience gets pretty hairy sometimes.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Don't Forget the 'Meta' in Your Morphosis."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from 2 Corinthians 7, beginning in verse 9. Paul says of some early Christians, "I am happy now, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance." Here's one of the most misunderstood words in the Christian vocabulary, probably one of the most neglected experiences in the Christian life. This word "repentance." It's vital if you want Christ's peace and His power. It's the key; it releases His power. Repent obviously means more than just "I'm sorry," because these people said they were sorry, but he said repentance is more than that.
Listen to verses 10 and 11. "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this Godly sorrow has produced in you." Listen to what He says about the repentance now. He talks about what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourself, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. When you repent of a sin, you're not just saying, "Oh, I feel so bad about it." You say, "I feel so bad about my sin, I'm going to stop doing it. I'll set up my life so I don't do it again." This is abandoning your sin, forsaking that sin, throwing it in the fire so you can't do it anymore.
The Greek word for repentance is "metanoia." Well, meta, of course we know that word. It means a change. It means like a change of shape - that's what metamorphosis is. Metabolism is what changes your food. Metanoia, or repentance, is changing. It's not just feeling guilty. A caterpillar might say, "I'm sick of feeling ugly. I don't like being like this anymore. I want to be different." Well, that's not enough. He has to submit to a transforming process that makes him totally new. Maybe you've told God you're sorry, but it's time maybe to go a step further and say, "Go ahead God and break my heart over my sin." It says when Peter realized what he had done to Jesus in denying Him, when he looked in Jesus eyes and Jesus turned and looked at him, he went out and he wept bitterly. When's the last time you had that kind of passion over hurting Jesus? It isn't because you've broken a rule; it's because you've broken Jesus' heart. And then, you repent specifically, not "Lord, forgive my many sins." You name it. You repent emotionally and passionately. You get in that cocoon where sorry can lead to a change. That's when the power is released.
You've got to burn the bridges to all the things that have helped you do that sin, and the people who have helped you do that sin, and the influences. You go back and make it right with the people who have been affected by that sin and you ask for their forgiveness, and you look for some accountability people to check up on you. God is as tired of your spiritual crawling as you are. He wants you to fly, and repentance is the missing difference. Ask God right now to forgive that sin, and then to change you. Don't forget the meta in your morphosis, and then you can become in Jesus a new person.