Some days ago (6th Feb. 2012), I learnt from a pastor friend that you can cook a live frog without it jumping out of the cooking pan. This is how to go about it: Put the frog in cold water, then heat slowly. As the water warms, the amphibian’s body will adjust to the temperature. The water will become too warm without it realizing it in time—it will be boiled alive.
This reminded me of chameleons. While a frog adapts to the surrounding temperature, a chameleon adopts the colour of its environment.
Suppose we have Christians who can be referred to as CC (Chameleon Christians) or FC (Frog Christians, what would it imply?
Two of the Characteristics of a chameleon can help us learn how "chameleonic" behaviour can compromise one's faith.
i) The tongue is a weapon.
When they shoot it, it makes a meal out of the target. What does a chameleon Christian do with his tongue? When they speak, they vanquish their target. May we not have a tongue that is a weapon to those who hear us.
ii)They change their colour in order to camouflage.
What does a chameleon Christian do with his identity? He doesn’t distinguish himself out. He assumes the ‘colour’ of where he find himself in order to hide his identity and his presence
A true Christian should be like an African whom the Bible says can never change his skin: “Can the Cushite change his skin…?" (Jer. 13:23). This implies a people of distinctive skin color that is unchangeable.
A bona fide Christian should also be like the light Jesus talked about when He said that people don’t light a lamp and put it under a bowl (Matt. 5:15).
The Apostle Paul says: “… I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings” (1 Cor. 9:22-23. In light of this, how do we put Paul’s convictions in into perspective so that we don’t use Paul’s ‘becoming all things to all men’ to justify chameleonic behavior?
One can identify with a people without necessarily compromising the purity of one’s life and his core identity. We can identify with people without falling into their depravity. We can identify with them by sharing their burden (burden=responsibility) (Gal. 6:2 NIV), but not identifying with them in carrying their load (load=sin) (Gal. 6:5 NIV). Christ identified with humanity without taking its depravity: He was tempted just like we are yet without sin (Heb. 4:15).
Note that there is s difference between hiding in faith and hiding from faith. There may not be a problem when a Christian hides because of persecution. In this sense, he will be hiding in order to keep his faith. The one who hides from faith is one whose hiding is meant to disassociate with the faith.
Here also let us consider two characteristics of a frog:
It is rare to see a frog walk normally. It jumps as a rule. What could jumping represent in a ‘frogy’ Christian?
He jumps over (into) conclusions. Even things that look like they are black and white may be very tricky to make a conclusion over. Let me give you an example. It is a gawky but it will help me explain how a frogy Christian can miss the point even when he thinks he has an evidence to make his conclusions: You are pressed, you run into a restroom. You find out that someone had just been there. You could tell this from the ‘freshness’ of the waste. The person messed the place so badly that you can’t even use it. You quickly turn around to leave the place. Unluckily, you meet someone who is headed to the same restroom. He gets there and meets the mess. Because he met you coming out from there and judging from the ‘freshness’ of the mess, he concludes that you are the one who messed the place. Job’s friends thought that they had the evidence to the effect that Job was suffering for his own sins.
ii) Adapting to the temperature
We mentioned at the beginning of this article that a frog adapt to the temperature around it. The Bible castigates lukewarmness: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!” (Revelation 3:15). What the Bible says here is that if one is cold, let him remain cold and if one is hot, let him remain hot. Being lukewarm means that one shares both the cold and the warm worlds.