For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
I was driving down Cicero Avenue in Chicago a few years ago. For some reason, I thought that this would save a little time driving from I-90 to Midway Airport. The route was far from expedient, but it was educational.
The light turned red. I stopped and looked to my left. At that moment, I saw a man with ratty looking clothes and an unshaven face, lifting a bottle cloaked in a paper bag and taking a swig. This is not an unfamiliar scene. What was unfamiliar to me was my response. I didn’t think “That dirty old bum. I can’t believe people live like that.” The thought that instantly popped into my head was “This is not who God made you to be.” I surprised myself in that moment.
The light changed. I began to drive, but I also began to think about that man. Years ago, he was a precious baby cuddled his mother’s arms. Every person who looked at his little face couldn’t help but smile. I doubt that he receives many smiles his direction these days.
Most of us will never be a bum on skid row. But, in our thoughts, our attitudes, our actions, our priorities – are we who God created us to be? We are God’s workmanship, His masterpiece. We are not our own workmanship. Believers are not “self-made.” We are designed by God to do what God created us to do. The problem is that we often misunderstand God’s creative process.
Sure, we want to see how everything will come together. We all want to feel that we are living a life that’s worth living. We want what Joseph had. “He succeeded in everything that he did.” (Genesis 39:3) But, none of us want to be thrown down a well (Genesis 37:23-24), sold into slavery (Genesis 37:36), falsely accused (Genesis 39:17), and thrown into prison (Genesis 39:20-21). If we could skip the process and just get to the final product, that would be awesome.
I’ve always been fascinated by sculpture. The thought of taking a block of granite or marble, envisioning the sculpture, then carefully removing everything that is not part of the masterpiece is mind-boggling to me. But, this is the perfect picture of God’s work in our lives. When we go through trials and hard times, God is chipping away at the parts of us that don’t belong on His masterpiece. It’s not pleasant. Sometimes we wonder if God cares about us at all. But, as we trust His hand, we come to learn that His intent for us is for our good.
How is God chiseling away at your life these days? Do you feel like you are living the life God intended for you or is something getting in the way? Are you resisting the work that God needs to do? Are you resenting it?
God has a plan for you. You must learn to trust His hand.
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