Larry Howard Jones, who served as the Music Minister of our church in KCMO, always shared the best illustrations about matters of faith when he taught the College & Careers class.
I remember him telling us that at the point of salvation God sees the new believer through Christ’s righteousness. That we could picture ourselves clothed in Christ’s pure white robe of righteousness. That from the point of salvation forward God sees us as if we were just as sinless as Christ Himself. Not that God is unaware of our flaws, not at all, but He has cast our sins as far as the east is from the west.
So this statement about the butterfly resonates within me. Because, regardless of how God perceives me, regardless of where I am on this road to sanctification, I do not perceive myself as Christ-like.
When we look upon ourselves the image is warped. When others look upon us, the image is also warped. It’s like we are looking at two different sides of a funhouse mirror. We see our failures, our sins, and often magnify them beyond a true representation of our true character. Friends, are often kinder (but not always). They tend to see a more wholistic view of our character but often inflate the true nature of our character ignoring lesser sins.
The media, oh the media, radically enhances a public figures character or viciously destroys it making one Saint or sinner depended upon their agenda. They gloss over or ignore behavior in order to present the viewing public with a predetermined image of a public figure, be it celebrity, politician or a high profile businessman. The media of today no longer reports news it manipulates news and we are often the unwitting victims of the spin doctor.
Only God sees us precisely as we truly are. Only God knows the heart. Only God knows our true motives and if they are pure and righteous or proud and self-serving. “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12 (KJV)
Only God has the ability to see us both as we are today and as we will be, when we are made like Christ. Only God can envision us, the as yet unfinished work of His hands, as clothed in the pure radiance of Christ’s righteousness.
This picture of a butterfly and the quote attached to it remind me that I can’t accurately discern my true character. That when friends evaluate my character, I may appear as a pretty butterfly, but to those who don’t like me much, I probably look more like the less attractive moth, but God sees me in every single stage of transition. He sees the metamorphosis – the work in process – the blending of the two sides of the funhouse mirror, still imperfect, ever changing day to day as the Holy Spirit performs the work of sanctification in my life.
But one day, one day, I will be revealed in pure sanctified glory, like the most rare and beautiful butterfly, to everyone, myself included – no more distortion- and that’s how I will be known for all eternity.