This past week, in our journey through the Bible in one year, Brian Hardin and the Daily Audio Bible family passed through Ephesians chapter 2. A particular verse caught my attention:
I was pondering the idea of writing this week’s post based on that verse. Then in church this morning, the verse came up during the sermon, so I took that as God’s confirmation that I should write about it.
So, we are God’s masterpieces, His handiwork. I think there are a couple reasons why this verse caught my eye. First, whenever an artist creates a masterpiece he or she is generally proud of it. A masterpiece is something you would point to and proudly declare, “I created that!” This is important because we may have a tendency to focus on our failures when it comes to our relationship with God. But God doesn’t do that. He doesn’t focus on our failures–He fixes them. By the time He is finished with us, He will proudly declare “I created her!” or “I created him!”
Of course, that will be His declaration as we come into His presence in heaven. In the meantime, in the now and the not yet, God is still working on us. In one sense, we are already masterpieces–since we have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, we can “put on” Jesus and appear perfect before God. On the other hand, and in a contradiction I may never understand this side of heaven, God is not happy with us when we fall short. There is judgment, but thankfully, there is also grace and mercy, and forgiveness. This is the “not yet”–God isn’t finished with us yet.
So this was the second reason this verse got my attention. In today’s culture of instant gratification, we tend to run out of patience, with God and with ourselves. We want our mission in life to be accomplished over a weekend. We want to be the best at something right now, without putting in the work to get there. We want God to take away the thorn(s) in our flesh right now.
But masterpieces take time. Some believe it took Leonardo da Vinci four tries over 16 years to complete the Mona Lisa (some even say he never finished it, which was kind of my thought when I saw it, since it’s a lot less impressive than I expected). Beethoven worked on his Ninth Symphony for over 30 years.
Although I have never created a masterpiece, when I was working on the manuscripts I have written, when going back over them for self-editing, sometimes I would come across a paragraph I had created previously that would make me think, Ew, what was I thinking? So I would tweak it to make it better. For pieces that they worked on for so long, I can imagine da Vinci and Beethoven going back over something they had done before and thinking the same sort of thing (in their own languages, of course!). So they fixed those things, and in the end, they created brilliant works of art.
And so it is with God and us, as his masterpieces in the making. Sanctification–being made holy–is a process. He may see something in us that makes Him think, Ew, we need to fix that! And so He does, working in us to make those things better. We simply need to be patient with Him, and try to cooperate with Him as best we can. We need to listen to Him and follow His promptings. We should walk with our Gentle Shepherd and allow Him to guide us.
In the end, He will point to you and to me and proudly exclaim, “Look what I created!”