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I bumped into an old friend in Belfast the other week. I hadn’t seen Joe for donkey’s years. We used to be the best of pals. We stood there and exchanged stories for a while, catching up on each other’s news. You know, my old friend was just the same, he hadn’t changed. He was a real wit with a warped sense of humour—always batting on the front foot, especially if he thought he could pull a quick one.

We were just about to part when he said to me: ‘Sam, by the way, have you met amorphosis?’ I thought for a moment and said, ‘Come to think of it, Joe, no, I haven’t. Where’s she from?’ He looked at me, smiled, and walked away. That’s when I realised I had fallen for it, hook, line, and sinker. He had taken me for the proverbial ride.

Metamorphosis! Ah, it’s all one word. It’s got nothing to do with someone I didn’t know, but it has everything to do with someone I do know. And, to let you into a secret, it’s someone I know very well. Yes, you’ve guessed it, it’s happened to me. And I know I’m not the only one. I can introduce you to a lot of people who have had the same experience—a personal metamorphosis.

It’s a big word with a fantastic meaning. Mind you, the experience is even better. Earth moving. Mind blowing. Life changing. I wanted to find out more, so I went and looked up its meaning in my trusted old dictionary. I discovered the definition says it is ‘a change of form by natural or supernatural means’. Look at the world of nature, it happens there on a daily basis—when a pupa turns into an insect, or a tadpole changes into a frog. Those are two fairly obvious illustrations as they powerfully highlight a change of form by natural means.

However, the dictionary also said it can be by supernatural means. That’s what has happened to millions of people all around the world. Paul, writing in the New Testament (2 Corinthians 5:17), to a handful of people who were living in sin city, Corinth, says: ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.’

He’s talking about people who are made of the same material as you and me, and he says they are a new creation. There’s an air of wonder and amazement in that phrase. You see, becoming a real Christian is like waking up out of a dream. You blink, and wonder of wonders, the old has disappeared. Everything is brand spanking new. You feel rather as Noah must have felt when he came out of the ark and saw a new world stretching before him.

It has nothing to do with turning over a new leaf, it has everything to do with starting a new life. When Jesus Christ invades a person’s life, he performs a creative act, a miracle of metamorphosis, an inside out transformation. Just as a caterpillar’s whole body dissolves in the cocoon, and is restructured into a beautiful butterfly, so our entire value system, our relationships, and our philosophy of life dissolve and are restructured around Christ.

This man Paul wasn’t talking out of the top of his head, nor was he referring to a second or third hand experience. Far from it! It actually happened to him on the road to Damascus. His life was given a new sense of direction, an added dimension, a whole new meaning. All because he met Jesus. And since Jesus changed him from the inside out, he was never the same again. How could he? It was the first day of the rest of his life. He never looked back, never turned back. He didn’t need to, didn’t have to.

Why live on skimmed milk when you can enjoy full cream?

A new life. For him and for many of us, this metamorphosis was a positive change for the better. In fact, if the truth be told, it’s even more, it’s for the best. You see, there’s more to life than winning the lottery, than having a string of beauties on your arm, than driving the latest car, than sporting a designer label on the back of your silk tie, than scoring the winning goal in a cup final, sure there is.

Perhaps today, you may be fortunate enough to meet someone who knows from experience that a spiritual metamorphosis is good for you. It reaches the parts that nothing else can. Such is life when you know Jesus, the old has gone, the new has come!