Posted February 02, 2010
CHRYSALIS - A DEFINING MOMENT
New York City's American Museum of Natural History has a stunning butterfly exhibit. Also displayed are Peruvian and Brazilian butterflies of the most brilliant blues and greens. They remind me of the Bible verse where James, brother of Jesus tells us, "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up. (James 4:10)
The butterflies look anything but humble with their magnificent colors, however, they're born from humble origins - the caterpillar - who crawls about inch by inch eating its way through leaves while waiting for its defining moment: Its chrysalis. But first, before it can drink sweet nectar and fly, it must too be humble.
The Greek word tapeinoo means to humble, bring low. To humble oneself, make oneself of low condition, be poor and needy with the idea of contrition and penitence toward God. The Virgin Mary is described as being of tapeinosin.
In Acts 8:33, tapeinosis refers to the Lord's humiliation. Tapeinophrosyne involves the confession of a sinner's sin with a deep realization of his unworthiness to receive God's marvelous grace. That grace is a special gift.
King Nebuchadnezzar is a good example of someone learning to be humble. He refuses to humble himself before God and to acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone He wishes. Because of King Nebuchadnezzar's pride, he becomes insane and is reduced to eating grass. After his sanity is restored, he says, "Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of Heaven, because everything He does is right and all His ways are just, and those who walk in pride He is able to humble." (Daniel 4).
I, as a human being, also have a defining moment, my chrysalis: But mine involves free will. I can humble myself like the lowly caterpillar to transform into a beautiful creature who drinks nectar and flies upon emergence - figuratively speaking - or I can crawl inch by inch like a caterpillar - just getting through the time I'm alotted on earth instead of progressing on to the next stage of growth.
Caterpillars are cute, but being fond of wild honeysuckle, I choose to fly. And besides, royal blue is my signature color.
To see the transformation of a butterfly from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly, visit
The website also shows an animation of a butterfly emerging from the chrysalis at http://monarchbutterflyusa.com/Chrysalis.htm.
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