by Christine Clippinger
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.
As an artist, I see a blank sheet of paper as pure potential. It is the medium to convey a vision into a tangible composition. Imagine my surprise when I read that God is an artist, and he has created each of us as his masterpiece.
My own work begins as a conception of a finished work. I can already see the composition, the colors, and the dimensions that would result in the greatest impact. Moreover, I usually create each piece for a specific purpose: a show, a Christmas card, a women’s conference, etc. For me, it is not merely a pretty picture but a message I wish to convey which moves me to create.
Before the paper is touched by my brush, it must be prepared. I soak, stretch, and staple the sheet down to a board to make it smooth and flat. If conditioned properly, the paper will not warp or buckle when the watercolor is applied. To proceed without taking this step would be an exercise in futility.
Thinking through this process in terms of God, as Creator, and me, as his living work, I realize what a challenge I am to him. I’m usually alright for the soaking and stretching phases, but I’m a bit unsure about being tacked down. No wonder I often warp and buckle under the pressures of this life; I sometimes have a hard time allowing his Word to be adhered to my heart.
When it comes to God’s preparation, there are no shortcuts. I need to be immersed in his truth through a study of scripture, to expand my understanding of the Word with prayer, and to affix his Word in me through practice of it in my life. I am thankful for a patient master, who reminds me that he does not guarantee a pain-free process of preparation but rather that I will avoid a lot of needless frustration if I trust him through it.
Allowing God to take me through these necessary steps is the only way to be ready for his brushwork, which is his purpose for my life of serving and loving others. Giving in to Jesus through the Holy Spirit adds a little more color as I proceed in his vision, and I become a more cohesive picture of his love.
The greatest part of this process is that God, like any great artist, makes the most of ‘happy accidents’. Those times in life when I stray outside the lines of his perfect picture, he makes them part of the scene and transforms them into objects of beauty. He uses life’s mistakes and tragedies for his purpose in ways I never could.
When looking at a painting, I often want to understand an artist’s perceptions. What steps were taken to achieve the unique beauty of the work? How can I apply those lessons to my own creation? When others see me, I want them to wonder these same things about God. I want them to be fascinated by the Master and crave his process in their lives.
Mostly, I want others to realize that we are God's masterpieces-in-progress, not perfect, but always being perfected. After all, our Lord Jesus Christ is not known for a single work, but for his entire, beautiful body.