Michelangelo was once asked what he was trying to create as he chipped away at a shapeless rock. He replied, “I am liberating an angel from this stone.”
That is what God is doing with us: He is making us into what we can be. We are wonderfully complex. We have been made in His image.
And in Ephesians 2, Paul tells us, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (verse 10 NKJV). God has a purpose for us to fulfill. He has a task for each of us to accomplish.
Although there has never been a person who, through human effort, has achieved salvation, if someone has really found salvation, there should be visible results of that fact.
There are a lot of people today who claim to be Christians, but there is absolutely no evidence in their lives to confirm it. Works don’t save a person, but they are good evidence that he or she is saved.
God has created you as His work of art for good works. He has a work for you to do. He has a plan for your life. Are you finding it? Are you moving in that direction? Or, are you wandering through life saying, “I have salvation, so that takes care of that. Now, back to doing what I want to do”?
The wording of Philippians 2:10 is very important. We were “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
God is going ahead of us, preparing the way by which we will come, so that the work we do may fulfill His plan for us. Even when there are setbacks or crises in life, we can remember God is working through, in, and around us.
Years after Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt, he came face-to-face with them once again. By then, he was second-in-command in the nation. But instead of using his power and position to exact revenge, Joseph told them, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive” (Genesis 50:20 NKJV).
I wonder if this thought first came to Joseph when his brothers arrived, looking for food. Did it just dawn on him at that very moment? “Now I get it. Now I know why God let me go through this.” Or maybe he saw it earlier.
Whatever the case, it was an amazing statement. Think of his exile, his betrayal, the false accusations, and problem after problem that he faced. Yet he said to them, “I know that your motives weren’t pure in this, but God sent me here. God was in this.”
Jesus said something similar to Pontius Pilate. As He stood before Pilate — the man who was judging Him — Jesus said, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above” (John 19:11 NKJV).
In other words, “I am moving toward the goal that I have set, and you are just doing what you are doing because this is what you are supposed to do. My Father has prepared the way for Me.”
Your Father has prepared the way for you too. Maybe you are facing a setback right now. Maybe there is a crisis in your life. Maybe it seems as though nothing is ever going to change.
Remember, you are a work in progress. You are under construction.
The question is, are you yielding to the plan and purpose that God has for you? Don’t resist what He is trying to do. Let Him have His way with you. Don’t be afraid, because His motive is always based on His love for you. He is looking for your best interests.
God sees what you can become. You may look at yourself and say, “I don’t get it. I don’t look like a perfect person. My life doesn’t look like a work of beauty.”
But God would say, “Just hang on. I can see what I can make you. You need to be patient, because you are a work in progress. It doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it will take all of your life on this earth and won’t be completely finished until you get to heaven.”Then you will see that you indeed are a perfect work of art — God’s masterpiece.
The story of Johnny Cash’s life and spiritual struggles offers hope to anyone who has had trouble staying on the straight and narrow path—and reminds us that God redeems broken lives and makes them whole again. My new book, Johnny Cash: The Redemption of an American Icon is a fascinating look at a unique and talented musician and follower of Christ!