But have you ever watched a butterfly? If you and I decided to go somewhere the way a butterfly goes, it would take all day to get there. We have a saying: “as the crow flies,” meaning a straight line course. A butterfly couldn’t fly a straight line no matter how hard it tried—it would always fail the state trooper’s sobriety test.
Some of us live our spiritual lives like butterflies. We seem to think that waking up in the morning and allowing life to just “happen” is the way to go. No wonder we don’t grow. No wonder we fail again and again at the same temptations. No wonder we don’t know more about the Word of God this year than last, and no wonder we can’t stand the trials of faith.
Some folks think that going to church is the plan. That’s why their neighbors would be surprised to find out they are Christians—Sunday is their only day of service. Others refuse to acknowledge any weakness they need to work on. It rankles their pride to admit they need to improve on anything, and because they won’t admit anything specific, they never do improve.
Some folks make their life decisions with no consideration at all for their spiritual health, or the good of the kingdom. The stuff of this life matters the most, and only after that do they give the spiritual a thought, if at all, and it is to be dismissed if it means anything untoward for their physical comfort, convenience, status, or wealth.
The only plan they have for their children is their physical welfare—how they will do in school, where they will go to college, what career they will pursue. They must get their schoolwork, but their parents don’t even know what they are studying in Bible classes, much less make sure they get their lessons. It’s too much trouble to take them to spiritual gatherings of other young Christians. And have you seen how much those camps cost?! Probably less than a year’s worth of cell phone service and much less than the car they buy those same kids.
Where is the plan for this family’s spiritual growth? Where is their devotion to a God they claim as Lord? If their children do end up faithful, it will be in spite of these parents, not because of them.
God expects us to have a plan. The writer of the seventeenth psalm had one. “I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress,” he says in verse 3, and then later, “I have avoided the ways of the violent, my steps have held fast to your paths,” (4b,5a). He made a vow and he kept it. He mapped his life out to stay away from evil and on the road to his Father.
How are you doing as you fly through life—and it does fly, people! Are you flitting here and there, around one bush and over another, out of the flower bed entirely once in awhile, then back in for a quick sip of nectar before heading off in whichever direction the wind blows? Or do you have a plan, a map to get you past the pitfalls with as little danger as possible, to the necessary stops for revival and refreshing, but then straight back on the road to your next life?
Do you know what the term social butterfly means? It’s someone who flits from group to group. Perhaps not so much now, but originally the term was one of ridicule. I wonder what God would think of a spiritual butterfly who has no focus on the spiritual things of this life, but flits from one thing to other and always on a carnal whim rather than a spiritual one. I wonder if He would decide that butterfly wouldn’t be able to appreciate an eternity of spiritual things either.
…And [Barnabas] exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith... Acts 11:23,24.