I am God's Workmanship

I am God’s Workmanship: A Joint Post

 

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, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10,ESV

From Susan:

In Greek, “workmanship” is poiema, the same word from which we get our English word “poem.”  Poiema is also translated as “creation, handiwork,” and … this is my favorite … “masterpiece.”

Think of humanity’s masterpieces: Bethovan’s Ninth Symphony. Handel’s Messiah.  Michelangelo’s “David.”  Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa”, and J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.   All of these works have two things in common – they are amazing, and they did not create themselves.  Bethovan composed his Ninth Symphony while deaf.  Michelangelo spent three years chipping away at the marble block to create “David.”  Leonardo da Vinci had to dip brush into paint and apply paint to canvas to give us the “Mona Lisa.”  And every novel has an author behind it, writing, editing, rewriting and second guessing plot structure and word choice.

A masterpiece is what is produced when the master works.  I was no masterpiece to start with.  I was just a wayward girl, intent upon her own desires, sinful and lost.  But, Jesus died for me, and rose again to give me new life.  He re-created me into His masterpiece, his piece of work.

But He didn’t do it just to hang me on the wall and enjoy me.  That’s where the metaphor of artwork breaks down. Jesus has a greater purpose.  He has a job for me to do, “good works,” and he’s formed me to do them. 

From Jen:

Ahhh… what would the world be without Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, or Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, or the whole spectrum of Jane Austen? Or what about Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, or the works of Monet? Or even our modern brushes with technological genius—Bill Gates’ Microsoft, Steve Jobs’ Apple, and that Zucker-kid’s Facebook.

Masterpieces all. But none of them just spontaneously happened. They had a creator, and that creator had a plan. An idea on the outset of what they were working on, and an intended purpose for that masterpiece on the back end.

And to think, we are called God’s masterpiece. Created with purpose, designed for His pleasure. And better, He not only had a plan for the creation itself, but a plan for that creation’s meaningful work. Sometimes I lose sight of that. Sometimes I feel abandoned in the chaos and get lost by the unexpected bends in life. But He never does. He has made me with love and given my life purpose by design. His masterpiece—amazing! I wonder, what will that look like this week?

I am a Citizen of Heaven

Joint entry: Proof of Citizenship

passport“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Philippians 3:20-21, NIV

From Jen:

Citizenship denotes the link between a person and a state. A relationship between me and the kingdom; one that is certain whether I am physically in that kingdom or not.

I can’t help but think on Christian’s pilgrimage to the Celestial City in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. The narrow path is difficult, full of trials and fearful encounters, but along the way, Christian carries with him his parchment—the scroll with the seal upon it—that he’d received at the Cross. He was to study those words, to think upon them and talk of them. And at the end of the journey, he would hand that scroll over to the gate-keeper, and it would be delivered to the King. Why?

It proved his citizenship. During his pilgrimage, as he struggled along the difficult path, suffered humiliation, wrestled with temptation, grappled with grief, and trembled before Apollyon, Christian carried with him that scroll. Because it wasn’t mere parchment. It was his proof of Citizenship.

God gives us his proof—He gave a deposit. The Spirit of God, dwells with me. Seals me. Journeys with me. I don’t know what the road ahead will look like. Sometimes there are dark clouds ahead. Sometimes I get trapped in the dungeon of doubt. Sometimes the valley terrifies me. But along the way, I carry with me the same scroll. He declares now, and at the City Gate, “She belongs. I am her proof of citizenship.”

From Susan

I love that.  The Holy Spirit, my proof of citizenship.

Do you have a passport?  Do you know where it is?  If you are living in your home country, those questions may not seem terribly pressing to you. “No, why would I have a passport?”  Or perhaps, “I think I have one, but it may be expired . . . hmm . . . Is it in my sock drawer maybe?”

But, if you were to ever travel abroad, you’d know exactly where your passport was every second you were on foreign soil.  You’d know, so you could snatch it up in a fraction of a second if you were ever called upon to flee a political coup.

You’d know, so when the police stopped you on the side of the road, as they often do overseas, you could prove your citizenship.

You’d know, because it would be your ticket inside your embassy.  The only ticket. Without it, you stay on the outside of those tall, barbed-wire topped walls.

And you’d know, because it’s the only thing that could get you back on to your country.

We are citizens of Heaven.  The Holy Spirit is my proof of citizenship, far more precious to me than my tattered U.S. passport.  He is my guide through emotional coups and hostile interrogations.  He rejoices with me when I enter a Heavenly Embassy, otherwise known as a church.

And one day, this weary traveler, sealed with the Holy Spirit, will step into Heaven.

I’ll hear God the Father say, “Welcome home.”