Last week, I had one of those moments where I knew I’d experienced a breakthrough in my character growth.
This tiny transformation was especially precious to me because it had been formed from lots of pushing through the muck of muddy and uncomfortable situations and countless “how-in-the-world-do-I-handle-this?” conversations with God.
And after looking back, I am more than convinced that this miraculous change in my heart is nothing that I could have accomplished on my own, and that this beautiful reshaping is covered in the fingerprints of the Master Artist.
It was a tiny change (only a handful of people probably noticed), but it reminded me again of this simple, beautiful thought: I am God’s masterpiece—an ever-changing work of art on display in this world for His glory.
And friend, so are you.
Don’t believe me? I don’t blame you. Most days “masterpiece” is hardly the way I’d describe myself either!
Instead, every tiny flaw seems to jump out at me. I want to nit-pick the imperfections and ugly, scarred areas.
My soul becomes weary from pushing on through the struggles, and I want to run away from my troubles and not let them “perfect” me (James 1:2-4).
When I look at the tragedies and the everyday bumps and bruises, I don’t want to believe that “all things work together for those who love God and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Some days (as I watch my troubles mount to an almost unbearable weight on my shoulders) I just want to be taken away to somewhere quiet where I can be left alone for the next month with my journal, a cup of tea and a great book.
But thank goodness that our life’s foundation doesn’t have to be based on the fluctuations of our feelings or even the reality of our circumstances.
Thank goodness that God sees through the nastiness of our world (both our difficult circumstances and our selfish desires) and somehow, someway transforms them into a breathtaking cascade of His glory.
Yes, friends, sometimes we can step back and look beyond the everyday trials and see the masterpiece slowly taking shape. And that makes all the uncomfortable shaping worth it.
7 Truths About a Masterpiece
1) A masterpiece takes a LONG time to create. These changes will happen a little at a time in us.
2) A masterpiece is very detailed and intricate. Tiny transformations are not always easy to see, but changes are still being made.
3) A masterpiece is one of a kind–no duplicates! We are called God’s unique workmanship, uniquely made by his hands (Psalm 139:14; Ephesians 2:10).
4) A masterpiece is often a culmination of an artists’ skill and hard work. As humans we were created on the sixth day of creation and it was only after humans were made that God called His creation “very good” (Genesis 1).
5) A masterpiece is precious–extremely valuable–to the artist. John 3:16 states this: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son so that whosoever should believe in Him will not perish but will have everlasting life.”
6) The artist is the one creating the masterpiece (the masterpiece cannot create itself). God is using our experiences to encourage us to become more like him in every way (2 Cor 3:18; Romans 5:3-5).
7) A masterpiece points to the artists’ talents and causes others to be inspired. Second Corinthians 4 beautifully shares how (because of salvation) we now have the amazing treasure of the Holy Spirit in our fragile, human bodies. When we live for Him, we have the honor of allowing others to see God in our lives which inspires, encourages and makes more people aware of God’s amazing love for them.
It All Starts with God’s Free Gift of Salvation
Consider these verses from Ephesians 2:10:
But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
God initiates the masterpiece through our salvation. God cannot begin to rework all the trials into triumphs until we first allow him access to our life and we humbly accept his gift of love and salvation.
Romans 8:28 is often quoted when we or a loved one are experiencing difficulties. It is a powerful (and not a trite) way to encourage others with this verse because the verse reminds us that God can and will use our immense challenges to bring incredible beauty.
But did you notice something? The “working things out for our good” aspect of Romans 8:28 has two conditions: We must love God; and we must be following His calling.
That’s why any work done in our life–any great creation of God’s “masterpiece” in us–cannot be done until we have been saved by God and have chosen to love and serve Him. Period.
From the Garden to the Glory
In one momentary decision, the entire human race was cursed with death and sin (Genesis 3) Thanks, Adam and Eve.
And yet, in one momentous choice made by the God-man who chose to hang on a cross, the entire human race was offered a complete pardon from that death and sin (Romans 5:12-17). Thank you, Jesus!!
And while we will never enter into that full perfection God promises until we reach heaven, right now God is changing us bit by bit into the fullness of who we were supposed to be before the Fall.
Yes, that’s right! Ephesians 2:10 promises that God has had awesome things planned for you (and me) to do since the beginning of time (which means pre-Fall), and He is restoring us each day so that we can accomplish those things.
Like a perfectly formed china figurine that gets knocked from a shelf and now lies shattered on the floor, God’s loving hands are taking each tiny piece and carefully gluing them back into their original spot. As the creator of this “china figurine,” only He knows where each part goes and therefore only He can do this mending.
How magnificent to think that we are slowly being transformed into these original, flawless versions of ourselves! And that through these changes, other people are noticing, and thus we have the opportunity to share how the transformation could have only happened because of a loving God who makes beauty from ashes.
By humbling ourselves, allowing God to transform and then sharing about that transformation, we have the opportunity to encourage others to humble themselves too so that God can work on them.
Second Corinthians 4:7 describes it as:
We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
I also love these truths from 2 Corinthians 1:4-6:
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer.
It’s a beautiful cycle of renewal that we have the awesome privilege of participating in!
And yet, all the wonderful mending he’s doing in our lives now is nothing compared to the future glory we will have when we are with him in heaven. (Romans 8:18-25).
Pressing On and Waiting for the Beauty
In the trials and in the chaos (which are not going away), let these truths elevate your thoughts.
Let them re-frame your thinking from frustration to joy.
Let them give you the endurance and strength you need to persevere.
And then watch for the changes and miracles to appear. Because they will! These are the great treasures of life–greater than any riches we can accumulate or tasks we can accomplish.
Christ is using your trials to make you new so that you can do the awesome things He’s planned for you since the beginning of time. You are God’s masterpiece!
This post contributed by Alicia from Your Vibrant Family