Redeeming the Chameleon


photo by MURIEL FREY

I like strong flavors, my steak heavily seasoned and my poultry infused with herbs. What are your preferences? Do you like your coffee mild or strong? Do you like bright “look at me” colors or more subdued colors that blend in with the surroundings? Do you read romance, mysteries, or thrillers? Are you loud or soft-spoken? Serious or humorous?

Depending on the country where you live, the family you were reared with, or the friends you keep,
certain things are more or less appreciated, accepted, and rejected. It’s not always easy for me to want what I like if you like something else. I have to make a choice every time this happens. Here’s what goes through my head.

I can:

  1. Live like a cat and want what I want no matter what you think.
  2. Like my opinion and defer to yours.
  3. Like my opinion and love you in yours, agree to disagree.
  4. Know the truth, see you in sin, accept you, love you, lead you to the truth.
  5. Live like a chameleon: changing my beliefs from environment to environment.

Options 2, 3, & 4 are examples of living boldly. The extremes of options 1 & 5 tempt me more than I like to admit. For years I blindly lived as a dissatisfied, scaly, dry chameleon thinking I was loving others when actually I was loving myself more than God. I hated living like that and decided to try a cat’s life. That was no good either because I loved myself and not others. Feline love did not satisfy any more than the amphibian approach. I threw  up my hands, repented for loving myself more than God, and said, “Lord, I’m tired of living like a cat and a chameleon, teach me to live like a human.” And he did.

There is nothing subtle about the decision Jesus made to invade and conquer our world or the way he lived his life. He had a mission: to please his Father. His friends didn’t understand him. His family thought he had a mental disorder. The religious people hated him. No matter what, his mission never changed. Not once did he live like a chameleon or a cat. He was always strong and he always loved God and others.

Jesus was fully God and fully human. (Existing fully as both has deep implications besides understanding how we feel but that’s a post for another day.) It hurts when your friends don’t understand and your family wants to lock you away in the house. No one likes being hated even if the people who hate you are wrong and mean. He was human, felt as we feel and he stayed focused on his Father’s desires. Jesus is what it means to be truly human and live boldly.

2 Timothy 2:4
 says, “No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.”

Do you have feline or amphibian tendencies?

How do you avoid living like a cat or chameleon?

How are you living like a human?

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  1. I strive to LIVE options 2, 3, and 4 — I live boldly — often times others don't like it, BUT I refuse to push things under the rug — I refuse to conform to unhealthy ways of others. Each morning I ask God to give me His strength — to live and shine through me. I am FAR from perfect — I am a sinner — who is nothing without His grace and mercy, but because I know that in my heart and in my head, I strive to LIVE options 2, 3, and 4.

    Thank YOU for sharing this post — GREAT message! Love it! =)

    • By God's grace I strive to live options 2,3, and 4 also. It's a growing process for me. I run, walk, crawl, stumble and some times fall flat on my face but I desire to get back up for the sake of the gospel. I agree with you that others don't always like the truth, but the gospel is good.

  2. Yeah, I go through 1-4. I don't conform when it's something I don't believe in. I've called people (Christians) out on stuff sometimes, and wasn't well received. I try to accept people, but I'm not very good at the leading them to Truth part. I don't know if that makes it seem as though I condone a lot of stuff, or if I'm too much of a cat to make an effort. I do hide a lot in my own little world.

    • Angela,

      Your honesty is beautiful. I think there is always a tension between doing things our way and the way that brings others to the Truth. When I'm quiet about an issue, I too wonder if I'm coming across as condoning it but then I must rest in God's power to bring everyone to himself, his Truth at just the right time. And remember, even a cat unintentionally provides a lot of comfort and warmth to its owner LOL

  3. Ali, this is a beautiful post. It made me reflect on how do I make my choices. How do I form my opinions? How do I find the truth in everything?

    It's hard to answer your questions with just a few words. I like to learn from others, I don't have a problem accepting other people opinions, if I agree with them. But I don't blindly follow, only because it might be the easiest way. I like to feel strong and in control, but – at the same time—I keep my mind open. Many wonderful people are like open books. They will let us soak up their knowledge if we are willing to read them and learn.

  4. What a challenge! I must confess I have gone through 1-4 pretty recently, and it is not the place God wants me to be! Finding the balance is so key, and I tend to err on the side of conforming way to often. Thank you for sharing your heart, Ali!

  5. My personality is such that I lived in five most of my life. I currently try to live in three, but I bounce around a little, as I think most people do. Great post.

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