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51 | The Butterfly Effect



Hi my name is Dean Smith and in this podcast I want to talk about a Christian version of “The Butterfly Effect” that could change your life.

Now you may have heard of “The Butterfly Effect,” as the theory has wormed its way into pop culture. I think there was even a movie made about it, with the same title.

The Butterfly Effect was a theory developed about 45 years ago by Edward Lorenz. He was a meteorologist at MIT at the time and at the 139th meeting of the Association of the Advancement of Society in 1972, he first presented his theory of The Butterfly Effect.

Basically the theory is summarized this way, it involves the idea that a “little” insignificant event can lead to a major change over time.

A metaphor commonly used to describe the Butterfly Effect is:

“Does the flap of butterfly wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?”

Since Lorenze introduced the idea, the theory has taken off in pop culture and gone well beyond how Lorenz initially intended it to be understood.

So along this theme of change let’s see what the Bible has to say:

2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2)

Though many focus on the born-again experience as the spiritual event that radically changes a Christian’s life, the Apostle Paul says that we are actually transformed by renewing our minds, literally changing the way we think.

But here is where it gets interesting. The Greek word for ‘transformed’ in metamorphoo which is the same Greek word used to describe Christ’s transfiguration when Matthew says Christ’s face shone like the sun and Mark describes the Lord’s clothes as “dazzling white.” It speaks of a miraculous transformation.

But metamorphoo is also the Greek word from which we get the English word metamorphosis and that word takes us back to butterflies again, as it is used to describe the miraculous transformation that takes place when a caterpillar changes into a butterfly.

After building a cocoon, the caterpillar releases enzymes that basically causes it to dissolve. If you were to cut open a cocoon during this process, basically fluid would just ooze out.

Everything dissolves except cells call “imaginal discs.”

I love the name “imaginal discs” because it relays the simple message — imagine what you are supposed to look like.

Now, there is an imaginal disc inside that protein soup for every part of a butterfly from its wings to the proboscis, its straw like mouth used to suck up nectar.

Then inside this soup, the imaginal discs start to form the new this new creation that is so completely different from a caterpillar, that it can no longer eat leaves to survive. Its digestive system has completely and radically changed.

Paul says we are also supposed to go through a similar life-changing transformation, but it’s done by changing the way we think.

We need to embrace our new identity in Christ, because this is exactly what the Lord did.

In Satan’s confrontation with Jesus in the wilderness, one temptation that Satan threw at Jesus was asking the Lord to prove He was the Son of God by miraculously turning a stone into bread.

But Jesus responded with these words:

“It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4)

While Satan was wanting Jesus to prove His sonship, by performing a miracle. Jesus responded that His identity was based God’s word and the last words that God spoke over Christ was at his baptism, when the Father said:

“This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17 NKJV)

So while Satan wanted Jesus to prove His identity by what He did, Jesus instead chose to base His identity on who God said Jesus was — the Father’s beloved Son.

The same principle applies to believers, our identity is not defined by how good we are or how many miracles we perform, but rather changing the way we think by believing what God says about us.

This transformation, unfortunately, is not a simple task. It is a struggle.

And we see that in the life of the butterfly. Once it has formed inside a cocoon, the butterfly must break free from its confinement. It is a struggle, but this intense exertion needed to break free, causes fluid to start pumping into the butterfly’s wings strengthening them for flight. The struggle is a necessary stage of the transformation.

The same applies to believers because changing how you think will often be a battle, because it involves changing mindsets or patterns of thinking about yourself that are years and in some instances, decades old.

In Genesis 1 verse 26, it says that God created man in His image and likeness. The word likeness refers to sharing similar attributes and emotions that enables us to have a relationship with God.

But image (Hebrew ‘tselem’) is a strange word because it means representation and ‘tselem’ is used throughout the Old Testament to describe idols or as the King James Bible quaintly calls them “graven images.”

So this verse suggests that God wanted humans to be the idols that represented God, not ones made of stone or wood.

So why would God do this?

I suspect God did this for one particular reason. As children interacted with their parents who were made in the image of God, they would gain an understanding of who God was and what God was like and this would serve as a natural bridge leading them into a personal relationship with their Heavenly Father.

But then man fell into sin and this idol representing God in His purest form was horribly scarred.

As a result, people not only have a warped understanding of who God is, but as well some had parents saying how stupid you were.

  • How you would never amount to anything.
  • Wondering why you couldn’t be more like Nancy or Johnny across the street?
  • Wondering why you were such a failure or disappointment.

If you come from a divorced family, you may feel like God has also rejected you.

Because the perceptions we have of God and even ourselves, come from our parents.

These thoughts were burned into our hearts and decades later you still feel the same way about yourself. You feel God looks upon you as a failure.

Now begins the struggle to erase those lies from your heart and mind, and begin to embrace who you are in Christ.

The first step involves forgiving your parents to remove the emotional charge that empowers these ungodly thoughts.

The second step is embracing and believing what God says about you. This is the Christian version of the Butterfly Effect because as we choose to believe God’s word, this can have a profound life changing effect.

As Jesus chose to believe what God said about Him, so must you.

I want to close this podcast with some descriptions of who the Bible says you are in Christ:

You are a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)

You are accepted by God. (Ephesians 1:6)

You are loved. (John 15:9)

You are Jesus’ friend. (John 15:14)

You are an ambassador for Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:20)

You are a child of God. (Romans 8:16)

You are a temple of God. (1 Corinthians 6:19)

You are God’s handiwork. (Ephesians 2:10)

You are beloved by God. His favourite child. (Romans 1:7)

You are the salt of the earth. (Matthew 5:13)

You are God’s chosen. (Ephesians 1:4)

You are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14).

You are an heir of God, co-heir with Christ. (Romans 8:17)

You are anointed by the Holy Spirit. (1 John 2:27)

You are a Saint. (Ephesians 1:1)

You are holy through Christ. (1 Peter 1:16)

You are completely redeemed and forgiven. (Colossians 1:14)

You are no longer condemned. (Romans 8:1)

You are a conqueror. (Romans 8:37)

You are seated in heavenly places with Christ. (Ephesians 2:6)

You have not been rejected. (Hebrews 13:5)

You have power and authority in Christ. (Matthew 10:1)

You are an over-comer. (1 John 5:4-5)

You have purpose as God’s co-worker. (2 Corinthians 6:1)

You are a Royal Priest. (1 Peter 2:9)

God is for you. (Romans 8:31).

You are empowered. (Philippians 4:13)

Your sins are forgotten. (Hebrews 10:17)

But now comes the tough part, if you are struggling with your identity in Christ and feelings that you are useless, take just one of those 30 or so things that God says about you and choose to believe it. Embrace it. Speak it to yourself again and again, and let it start transforming your life.

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