When a caterpillar tries to fly, it ends up falling. When a man sincerely tries to be like God, he ends up falling as well. The fact is that a caterpillar simply cannot fly, as it now it. There is an ENORMOUS gap between what it is now and what it can become. We are in a similar situation; as fallen man we lack the means to fly, we cannot do all that we know we should be doing.
But there is hope. For a caterpillar to fly, it first has to go through a rigorous transformation phase. It sheds its old skin to form a protective shell around itself called a chrysalis. This phase is probably uncomfortable and difficult, there is very little room to move around, and it probably can feel cold and dark.
Similarly, mankind must go through a transformation process, both individually and in our societies. The scriptures call it sanctification. It is the process of being born again. This process can be painful. It takes a lot of time and dedication. It is not easy. But, will a butterfly regret having gone through it's chrysalis phase once it can spread its wings and fly? I think not. Similarly, a man who walks the difficult road of full discipleship will never regret having walked that path once he sees the face of God, and feels what it's like to be completely loved.
The difference between a man and a caterpillar is that for man, the rebirthing process does not just come naturally in the course of time. The man has to choose it. Having chosen to follow Christ with all his heart, a man will begin to try to act like Christ.
He sets his face forward, shoulders squared, and begins to walk the path few men have known, the "highway of holiness."(Isaiah 35:8)
Then, the moment of temptation comes, whatever it may be. His old vices return to haunt him, his new life is just too difficult. He falls short. Again. And again.
What then, brethren? Where do we turn when hope disintegrates? Where do we go when we fall apart?
We turn to the Savior.
He is the answer to our shortcomings. He is the redeemer of mankind. His atonement is the one solution to sin; past or recurring sin.
Having fallen painfully to the ground in our attempts to fly as He flies, we gain a new vantage point. When we feel that we can sink no lower, we can look up. Looking up, we will find God. Looking up, we will find that he gave us our weaknesses, our addictions, our sicknesses, our problems, not to keep us from Him, but to bring us to Him.
He will cover us in our weakness. Only He will make us whole. The process of change is a difficult one. Being born again is not a passive assignment. But when a butterfly emerges, it can finally fly. Not because it has to, or is supposed to, but because it's been given wings to fly.
Brethren, who among us will walk on the path with the Savior? Who will seek for help?
Brethren, the time to wait is too far past. "choose you this day whom ye will serve."
And as for the person among us who will choose to follow Christ; He is the person who will find happiness. He is the person who having walked the lonely road, who having trodden just a small part of the winepress, aided by the Lord,(See Isaiah 63:3) he will emerge victorious from his fire of affliction. He will emerge to join the happy saints in Zion. He will find God, and truly He will fly, for through his struggles, his wings have grown.
*Written for the members of an Elder's Quorum.