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The Visitor

We’ve had an unusual visitor this summer.  He shows up at our front door around the same time every night, never bothering to call first.  We just leave the light on and assume we’ll see him at some point.  He stays for hours, relaxing and eating before heading home in the wee hours of the morning. 

OK, before you think there’s been some weird guy hanging out on our porch for the past three months, our “visitor” is actually a toad.  Not a cute little toad, but a big, fat, Buddha-looking croaker.  He sits out there like a yard ornament… lapping up bugs like a kid with a fresh bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.  

Despite his shortcomings, Toad has become somewhat of an endearing pet for us. We greet him eagerly each evening and pause to watch him feast on the critters drawn to our porch light on warm summer nights.  

Toad has spent so much time here lately, I often wonder where he goes when he’s not hanging out at our place.  I wonder how old he is, and I think about the bizarre transformation he went through in his recent past.  I mean, not too long ago he was completely stuck in the water… just a tadpole with no arms, legs or body.  But soon he was able to hop out of the swamp to a new life on dry land.  Now he sits on our porch, looking nothing like the creature he once was.  

In a crazy way, isn’t that a reflection of what our spiritual lives should look like?  2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that “anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun.”

As we continue to walk with Jesus in our lives, God wants to see a complete transformation of our hearts, minds and spirits.  There’s no reason for us to be tied to the “old” environment we came from.  We should move on to a new existence as completely different creatures… unrecognizable from our past.  

How can we do that?  Romans 12:2 puts it simply:  Stop conforming to the world and let God transform you by changing the way you think. 

In today’s multimedia culture, it’s so easy to miss what God wants to do in our lives.  Social media, Netflix, video games, the stock market, political outrage, etc…  If distractions like these are consuming our time, energy, and/or thoughts, then we’re not allowing God to transform the way we think.  If we’re more interested in doing “what everyone else does” than in standing out as the unique person God wants us to be, we’re conforming, not transforming.  

Our friend Toad will never return to the life he left. He’s been completely transformed.  How about us?

– Ron Reid