We know from scripture that we are a work of art that God is crafting into something uniquely His. He allows the world to view the Artist at work as He shapes, molds and sculpts us right before their eyes. This is amazingly stated in how the New Living Translation translates the following verse.
Ephesians 2:10 10 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.
Although He uniquely sculpts each one of us into His individual masterpieces, He is also writing a bigger, interconnected story with all of our lives.
2 Corinthians 3: being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
The Spirit of the living God is in the process of writing the story of our lives on our hearts and He wants the world to read it. It is the story He has been telling for thousands of years. It is the story of Jesus and how He transforms lives.
This transforming, conforming process can be painful at times. The sculpting process of chipping away the chunks of our lives that are in the way of revealing the masterpiece that we really are, feels like God doesn’t know what He is doing at times. God uses everything that comes our way to uniquely sculpt us into the image of Jesus and it is frequently painful and confusing. We have to be willing to hang in there while the sculpting takes place.
Romans 8:29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
It is no mistake that verse 28 comes right before verse 29 in Romans 8.
Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
I get from this that once we receive Jesus, God has predetermined that He will conform us into the image of Jesus so that eventually the world will recognize Jesus when they gaze at us. That explains verse 29, but we have to intensely believe verse 28 in order to be willing to endure the conforming process of verse 29.
Verse 28 tells us that all of this stuff, the pain, the suffering, our mistakes, others mistakes, the deserved and undeserved suffering that comes our way, is all working together to benefit us in a greater purpose.
God’s purpose is to use all of this stuff, the good the bad and the ugly, to conform our image into a masterpiece that will reveal Jesus to the world. If we don’t know that the transforming, sculpting process is for a greater purpose, we will lose heart and sell out to whatever easier alternative the world is offering us. We will self-medicate with the world and watch our spiritual potential collect the cobwebs of compromise as an unfinished work.
Michelangelo made the following statement that explained his philosophy when he sculpted a particular angel. “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free”.
Is that not how God is working with us? He sees who we really are and is removing the parts of our lives that prevent us from becoming His masterpiece. If we will sign on for the pain this process can cause, He will set us free so that we don’t have to settle for the self-medicating bondage the world offers and we can experience the abundant life He promised.
Galatians 5:11It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.