So, you're a caterpillar.
You're crawling along, munching on your one plant. That's all you get... one kind of plant. One meal on the menu but you're pretty okay with that because that's all you want to do, is eat.
After shedding your skin about 4-5 times, you feel something different happening. "I'm melting!" Yes, you are. Your chrysalis has become your outer shell, attached to a plant or stick, and inside, you have literally released enzymes that turn you into a caterpillar soup. Nothing is as it was. Stumpy legs, gone. Funky bright stripes, gone.
Days pass. Weeks pass. Again, you sense something different. You've molted skin before but this is different. As you emerge from your shell, you see with new eyes. Literally, a new pair of eyes that you didn't have before. You have 6 legs but they're longer, more defined. And WHAT THE HECK ARE THOSE THINGS?!
Right now, they're new and wet and small. But as you stay still, breathing, blood is getting pumped into those wet, small things. And they're getting bigger. Lighter. "Whoa, is that color? That's a different color than I had before!"
"Ooo, ooo! When I do this, those big things move and it feels kind of nice. Can't wait until the temperature warms up, 'cause I feel so stiff. Ah, there we go, a little beam of sunlight. Oh yeah. Hey, these things are WILD! They flap, like move up and down!"
So now I ask you. What is the creature going to do next? Go find its original plant menu and crawl up the plant and begin eating as before?
No. The creature of earth has been transformed into a creature of air. Crawling was the only option before. Now she can fly. Constinual molting of a stumpy, bumpy body was the "look" before. Now, she is quick, light, beautiful, and sails on the air, sensing the location of nectar in nearby bushes and flower beds. She can even see ultraviolet light.
A total transformation has occurred. No longer the same. Different body, different territory.
But here's the wild part: a study suggests that some caterpillar memories remain. It is possible that the caterpillar soup -- the total meltdown of everything that was before, shape, color, limitations, domain, mobility, vision -- has been upgraded, while memories remain.
It would be ridiculous to see a butterfly not using her wings and ability fly. Or trying to hide her wings. Or pushing herself to crawl faster, eat more plant. Why would she strive to be a better caterpillar when she isn't one any more?
That's having "caterpillar brain."
If we have truly been made new, (1 Corinithians 5:17 "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!") then we have to renew our minds to becoming wholly who God has transformed us to be. (Romans 12:2 "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.")
Memories from our old life, old ways come with us into our new life. We have to teach our caterpillar brains the truth -- that we are no longer caterpillars. It is our daily task to train our brains to match what our spirits already know... that we are free, redeemed, healed, whole, approved, accepted and fueled by joy, peace, grace, and mercy.
It's our metamorphosis -- learning through a lifetime -- who we really are. And God is gracious. He remembers that we tend to still believe we're caterpillars. But He knows who we really are and takes joy in helping us learn.
We are no longer creatures of the earth. We are made to fly.