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A Marvelous Display

Unlike art hanging in a gallery, you’re a piece of work made by God.

Charles F. Stanley August 1, 2022

Have you ever stood outside on a clear, dark night and stared at the grand exhibition of God’s creation? Or perhaps the wide variety of plant and animal life has left you in awe of the Lord’s creativity and wisdom? As great as these things are, nothing compares to His crowning creation—mankind. That’s because we alone are made in His image, and each of us is unique.

Photography by Suren Manvelyan

God not only created each of us physically, but for those of us who have been saved through Jesus’ death and resurrection, He’s also made us new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Furthermore, Ephesians 2:10 says, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus.” To me, the word workmanship means “masterpiece” or “something of notable value and excellence.”

Now, you may feel more like a mess than a masterpiece, but from God’s perspective, a work of art is exactly what you are. Even if you feel worthless or rejected, this fact must supersede your feelings. Once you understand how precious you are to the Lord, your attitude, thinking, and behavior will begin to align with the truth.

Sin is probably the most common reason we may not feel like God’s great work. But just because we’ve fallen to temptation, that doesn’t mean we are junk. We’re still the Lord’s handiwork, but we need cleansing. When I travel overseas, I like to visit museums. Wanting to see a work of art I’d previously admired, I once returned to a certain museum, only to discover that painting was missing. I asked the attendant where it was, and he said it was being cleaned. Did the fact that it was dirty make it any less a great work of art? No. It was still valuable because its worth was determined by the hand of the artist who created it.

No work of art exalts itself. The only reason for its existence is the will and talent of the artist. As God’s workmanship, we are to reflect our Savior by living for Him and not ourselves.

We must also remember that each of us is a work in progress that will not be completed until Christ comes to take us home to heaven. (See Phil. 1:6.) However, until then we should be a reflection of His character, love, and service. In other words, we are a walking picture of His grace and His power to transform all things. And as we go about our daily lives, we must remember:

Our purpose is to bring God glory. No work of art exalts itself. The only reason for its existence is the will and talent of the artist. As God’s workmanship, we are to reflect our Savior by living for Him and not ourselves. His glory should be our motive in whatever we do. If we’re living for anything else—even good things like family or a career—we’ve missed our purpose.

We were created to work. “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). These are not good deeds that earn us salvation, because we can be saved only through faith in Christ. We don’t become masterpieces by something we do any more than a block of marble can shape itself into a sculpture. Only the Creator can make us a masterpiece through our relationship with Christ.

But once we become His workmanship, we are accountable to God for how we live and what we do. We weren’t saved to sit in pews on Sunday and do whatever we want the other six days of the week. The Lord has planned exactly what He wants us to accomplish during our time on earth. In fact, He designed it all beforehand. God not only chose us to be His children but also planned specific tasks for each of us. The way to love and honor Him is to discover His will and live in it.

We don’t become masterpieces by something we do any more than a block of marble can shape itself into a sculpture. Only the Creator can make us a masterpiece through our relationship with Christ.

God has provided everything we need to accomplish the tasks He has given us. In John 15:4, Jesus told His disciples to abide in Him like a branch in a vine. When we abide in Christ and obey Him (John 15:10), His life flows through us like sap, and we become fruitful. Knowing that we need divine empowerment, Jesus has also given us the Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17). And the Spirit in turn has provided each of us with spiritual gifts that enable us to do the works God ordained (1 Corinthians 12:7-11). In addition, the teaching, reproof, correction, and training of the Scriptures equip us for whatever we’re called to accomplish (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

But how can you discover what God wants you to do? You must understand that His will applies to every area of your life. For instance, your neighborhood is more than simply a place to live; it’s a mission field where you can serve the Lord with your abilities, attitudes, and witness. That’s why it’s important to ask Him for guidance. What seems like the good opportunity may not be the plan He has in mind.

There will come a moment when what we have done during our lives will be tested by the fire of God. (See 1 Corinthians 3:9-15.) No one wants to stand at the judgment, looking at a pile of missed opportunities and unused spiritual gifts. But imagine the joy that will be ours when we know we’ve invested our lives for Him and are given the privilege of bowing in humble submission before the One who made us. Now that’s what a masterpiece is called to do.

Adapted from the sermon “God’s Masterpiece” by Charles F. Stanley

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