Spring Peepers Carry Their Cross, Do You?

Spring Peepers Carry Their Cross, Do You?

Every year around February I begin to get excited about the coming of spring.  The first indicator for me that winter is loosing its grip is when I begin to hear winter breeding frogs like chorus frogs and spring peepers.  The bird like call of spring peepers gets me the most excited because conditions have to be warmer for them to come out than their cousins the chorus frogs.  The spring peeper’s Latin name is Pseudacris crucifer.  They have a very prominent cross or X shape on their back, hence the species name “crucifer.”

They are a very visual representation of the crucifixion of Jesus and they even start their springtime reveling right before Easter.  I tend to think of them as a proclamation of good news that winter is over and spring is about to begin.  The death of winter is over and the new life of spring is just around the corner.  Their timing with the celebration of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is icing on the cake.

We as believers in Jesus Christ need to be more like these frogs, visibly carrying our crosses but joyfully calling out and proclaiming the glory of God to a cold world.  Matthew 16:24 says, Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”  Even though spring peeper frogs are designed to withstand the cold of late winter and early spring, it still must be uncomfortable for them to emerge and dutifully announce the coming of spring.  We as believers in Jesus Christ need to deny ourselves and pick up our crosses, so that a dying world can see that just around the corner spring has sprung.  New life is on the way!  Spring peepers carry their crosses, do you?

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Are You A Good Mimic?

What does it mean to be a mimic?  In the case of some animals like the Scarlet King snake it is a benefit biologically because other animals will regard them as something else and will not take a chance on eating them for fear of being injured or killed themselves.  So looking or acting like something else is beneficial to that organism because of the association to the thing they are mimicking.  Couldn’t that also work with Christians as well?  

The term “Christian” defined by one online dictionary is as follows:  “Manifesting the qualities or spirit of Jesus; Christlike.” Ephesians 5:1-2 in the NIV says “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”  The New King James Version has it translated as Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.  And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”  So if we look at being a mimic, or imitator, in the context of those scriptures and apply that to why animals are found as mimics in nature what can we gather?  How can we mimic Christ more effectively?

 

One way we can mimic Jesus is to look at how we are supposed to treat others in light of Matthew 5:38-48.  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.  And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.  If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.  Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

 

Jesus says we have to turn the other cheek and essentially not let the world get to us, mimic Jesus in peace and humility and not go around looking for a fight or a chance to prove ourselves to everyone in violence or other areas of our lives.  We have to go the extra mile with people and not expect immediate results as well as give them more than they even asked for in the first place.  In order to effectively mimic Jesus we must actually love our neighbors AND our enemies.  That’s kind of a tough pill to swallow.  I thought that we could mimic Jesus by wearing WWJD bracelets and crucifix necklaces all the time.  Surely that will work right?  It’s easy to love those that love us, it’s even easier to always live in our Christian bubbles and never get out into the world and actually love those that may curse us for doing so.  Jesus ends this verse with a call to mimic him by saying “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”  Will you drop the charade and start loving people in the name of Jesus?  Lets be imitators of Christ and mimic the Father so our enemies will not see us as who we are but as who He is.

If you liked this devotional be sure to pick up a copy of "Whispers In The Woods" to have a collection of 52 similar devotionals for your spiritual growth and encouragement.  Click HERE to order a copy!