Ido love the Summer Olympic Games. From synchronized diving to the hammer throw, it was fun to watch sports I normally never watch. (My husband might say there are no sports I don't normally watch, but he would be wrong.)
The one exception might have been the heavyweight division of the women's weightlifting event. I couldn't actually decide if that was fun to watch or just disturbing, but I confess it was nice to see ladies who may look worse in spandex than I do.
As I tuned in to most of the Olympic events, and especially the gymnastics competition, one thought kept occurring to me: "Am I really a member of the same species as these people?"
I have never in my life seen anyone jump as high, twist as quickly, flip as effortlessly, or fly as gracefully as U.S. gymnastics phenom Simone Biles. I have the same parts as Simone, but mine sure won't do what hers do. I look like a beached whale floundering on the shore when I try to just get up off the floor.
The fact is, most of us can only look on in sheer wonder at what Olympians are able to do.
As I was thinking about this, it occurred to me that the world is supposed to look at followers of Christ with a similar wonder. They're supposed to be awestruck at the way we love, the way we forgive, the way we understand, the way we overcome, the way we persevere, the way we give, the way we hope.
They're supposed to wonder, "Am I really a member of the same species as these people?"
In reality, followers of Christ are not supposed to look like everybody else because, according to the Bible, we're not. We are, in fact, a different "species."
In 2 Corinthians 5:17 we read, "If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation ?"
I did a little digging and found some comments that shed light on what this means.
From the Benson Commentary: "He (the Christian) has new life, namely, a spiritual and divine life; new spiritual senses, new faculties, new desires and designs, hopes and fears, joys and sorrows, passions and appetites. His whole tenor of action and conversation is new, and he lives as it were in a new world."
From Barnes' Notes on the Bible: "There is a change so deep, so clear, so entire, and so abiding, that it is proper to say, here is a new creation of God—a work of the divine power as decided and as glorious as when God created all things out of nothing."
And from the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary: "'New' in the Greek implies a new nature quite different from anything previously existing."
It seems to me the "new creation" we become when we place our faith in Jesus Christ isn't so much like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly as it is like a caterpillar being changed into a lion. Something entirely different; a new species.
The transformation isn't just about becoming an improved version of ourselves, like a couch potato working hard to get in shape. It is deeper, broader, more radical and complete than that.
It begins at our very core: "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh," Ezekiel 36:26 says.
Out of that new core should flow attitudes and actions that leave onlookers amazed.
When the disciples witnessed one of the miracles of Jesus, their response was, "What kind of a man is this?"
I think folks ought to wonder the same thing about those of us who bear His name.
Mary Ann Crum (maryanncrum.com) lives in Abbeville and is the author of two books, "A Giggle Goes a Long Way" and "Live.Learn.Laugh!" She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.