I once read about a scientific experiment with butterflies. A male butterfly was introduced to an environment with two options present. Option #1 was a living, healthy female butterfly. Option #2 was a huge, cardboard cutout butterfly painted with the same colors as a real female. Enter the male. In tests (repeated a number of times), the males tended to ignore the real female and try everything it their power to attract the attention of the most obvious, but the most unreal mate.
I read this and thought, “How easily deceived those insects are. Run after a cardboard butterfly? They must really lack discernment, can’t they tell it’s a fake?!”
And then I thought about myself…
What things or what people have I pursued thinking they would bring me fulfillment? What have been the “fakes” in my life?
What do I focus upon that draws my attention away from Christ?
What’s my cardboard butterfly?
We find the same type of thing in Israel’s past. When Israel turned from the One True God to pursue idol worship, God said, “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns–broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jer. 2:13).
Israel left the one source of sustenance to run after what seemed better in their eyes and minds. But the idols would not satisfy because they could not compare to the “living waters” of God. In fact, the idols couldn’t even “hold water.” Israel came up dry.
There are times when I abandon His plan for my own. My way seems better. Better usually means “more comfortable.” But He doesn’t call me to comfort, but to combat (Eph. 6:10-17). The life that Christ commands us to live is difficult (Matt. 7:14). He calls me to the best way, and usually it isn’t the most obvious way. It’s seldom the flashiest, the showiest, or even the quickest. But it is real, and it is the only way that I am ever going to find true fulfillment. He wants me to see past the fakes that pose as a means to peace, joy and fulfillment and “set [my] mind on the things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:2).
What’s your cardboard butterfly?