Friday, June 16, 2017

Christian Outdoor Object Lesson 53: Chameleon Like

Key Verse

“For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more;”
‭‭I Corinthians‬ ‭9:19‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


One of the most fascinating creatures in God's kingdom is the chameleon. It's eyes can move independently of one another and focus on two different objects at the same time. It's tail is prehensile so it can grip things. It's feet look like hands. It has a tongue like a frog which can hit bugs with a force of up to 41 g's. And of course, it can change the color of its skin.

God gave chameleons an amazing form of camouflage. They can change the color of their skin to match that of their surroundings. The most amazing part is that their skin can be multiple colors at the same time to match the pattern of the plants and scenery around them. Special color pigment cells under the skin called chromatophores allow them to do this creating combined patterns of pink, blue, red, orange, green, black, brown, yellow, and even purple.

Chameleons typically live in warm tropical places where there are plants with many varied and bright colors. That's is why they use odd colors like yellow and purple. But hiding is not the only reason chameleons change colors. Some show darker colors when angry, or when trying to look impressive. Males show light multi-colored patterns when enticing female attention. Desert varieties change to black when its cooler to absorb heat, then light grey to reflect heat.1

No matter how well the chameleons camouflage works, no matter how alike they appear to the plants and ground around them, they are still fundamentally different. Chameleons are animals, not plants. They can walk, think, and see. The chameleon make look like a plant or tree bark at first glance, but as you look more closely you can see it is fundamentally different.

As Christians we are called to serve people that we might win them to Christ. To do this we often appear similar to worldly people. We dress similarly, talk similarly, act in many of the same ways, we may even listen to some of the same music. But we must remember that we are fundamentally different, we are not of this world. We are free from the pressure of living up to the expectations of others and only have to please God. We act and think according to God's standards not man's! When we do choose to appear similar to the world we must remember it is not for our own gain, but to share the hope we have. Like the chameleon we blend in, but we are different.


What example did Jesus leave us about how to live in the world without being of it?

What types of things are ok for Christians to do without endangering their salvation?

The Pharisees had long checklists of do's and don'ts. How can we avoid becoming like that?

Written by David F. Garner
Photograph by Marcel Langthim via

1. Rene Smith, Fun Chameleon Facts for Kids (July 8, 2016),, Accessed 6/16/2017