This isn’t just my idea of a Friday morning pep talk, although goodness knows I could use one. This is the truth of God– that we are more than just this mess of flesh and bone and sin and desperation. We are masterpieces– works of art, each different, each showing in a uniquely beautiful way the fingerprints of the Master Artist.
He is an Artist who doesn’t make mistakes.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
It’s that word workmanship that tells us how God views us– other translations say we are His handiwork, His masterpiece. The Greek word is related to our English word for poem. We are specifically, intricately, carefully created by the very hands of God for a specific purpose– to bring glory to Him.
This is all because of grace. Every human being is created in God’s image, formed within our mothers’ wombs. But this verse goes beyond that– this verse comes in the context of our salvation by grace through faith.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship . . .
God always is working on us, creating a masterpiece of beauty and glory. He does not allow anything to happen to His masterpieces that will not bring us closer to the loveliness He has in mind. All the ugly things, all the bitter and sorrowful things, all the painful moments and the uncertainties, all of them are part of the masterpiece God creates in our lives. Not one of them is a surprise to the God who has been forming us from day one.
It brings such comfort to me to remember this. It seems God asks me to do so many hard things– things I feel so incapable of, unqualified for. But in His kindness He reminds me that I am His masterpiece, and that He created me specifically to do good works. And He so lovingly reminds me that He has had these particular works– all these hard things that stretch me and humble me– He has had them in mind for me since He began creating me.
Nothing in my life is a surprise to God. He made me, and He made these hard things for me to do, and He poured out grace in lavish floods so that I could be saved to do these things. From the moment He began His good work in me, my loving Father– the Master Artist– was working toward this moment, this hard thing.
He knew that I would approach some of His tasks with excitement and boldness and confidence.
He knew that I would fall flat on my face more than once.
He knew that I would be afraid and unwilling to attempt some of His good works.
He knew that the enemy would attack me, that life threaten to overwhelm me, that I would be weak and tired and so very unable.
He knew all these things beforehand, when He was creating these specific works for me to do. And so as He has trained and formed and purged and purified me, as He has slowly over many years built up this masterpiece, He made sure to include everything I would need.
He gave me His Spirit, His Word, His people. He lavishes me daily with grace sufficient. He promises help, comfort, strength, life, and presence.
He asks me to do this hard thing, but never alone. It is part of the handiwork of God– a way to showcase His beauty and glory and grace in all the imperfections of my life.
I am His workmanship– His masterpiece– created in Christ Jesus for the good works He calls me to do, prepared for those works, empowered for them, never alone– not even for a moment.
And so are you.
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
Photographs taken by Irv Cobb
Faint Fringes Photography