Ephesians 2:8-10 (AMP) For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation]. For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].
Grace is messy. There is no easy way to submit the broken pieces of our life for full restoration without giving the old heave ho and letting it all go. However, in doing so it is obvious to others that even as faithfully religious Children of God, we are still far from perfect. I’m a mess today. The Lord is stirring me up on the inside and all deeply discarded parts of me which I have buried in my own sea of forgetfulness come rising to the surface. God loves us too much to leave us satisfied with partiality. It is all or nothing with Him.
Our oldest child was a strong negotiator who strived to leave nothing on the table. It started early on. He was perfectly content in one room until I put up a baby gate. As he grew older he might ask for something, and if I gave it to him the negotiating process from more would begin if I relented too easily. Some may consider this fear of missing out or FOMO as they say these days. He was always pushing boundaries as if to find the edge. It was exasperating. Yet, God, my God is exactly the same way. Relentless… His Love for me and all my broken and messed up parts is relentless and He continually negotiates with my heart, mind, soul and body for more. Why? Because His Love is far too perfect to leave me to wallow in my imperfections.
For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation]. (Amplified)
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. (English Standard Version)
We are all messy. I love the Amplified version of the Bible. It takes the Word of God and breaks it into bite size pieces. It gets messy, too. Forcing us to slow down and read all the words as it attempts to make it palatable and digestible to us all while not watering down the text or changing the connotation. I know it can be long but our process is lengthy as well. To have faith that is credible it is important to continually engage in the wondering working power of God’s Grace which is constantly seeking to restore and renew us. Restoration requires demolition. Repentance requires destruction. There is no possible way to become a masterpiece of God without using all the pieces. From the beginning of our creation, God had a plan and purpose for our life. His Own Special Visions specifically with us in mind. No one else can be called the workmanship that you are because you are unique and individual. The enemy wants you to believe you are nothing but the worthless broken pieces of dead dreams, unfulfilled expectations, past failures, and struggling sin that is what you see staring back in the mirror. But God sees the completed work that He intended you to be and strives for it daily.
For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].
Workmanship. Masterpiece. A work of art. All these things did not begin the completed process projects. No it begins with parts. Consider the Mona Lisa. The famous painting began as a canvas, brushes, and paint. An artist with a vision took the necessary parts to bring it into reality. Leonardo da Vinci worked on this priceless work of art from 1503 and completed it in 1519 just before his death. He worked on the piece for almost two decades. God formed me in my mother’s womb on purpose, with purpose to fulfill a purpose. I was created on purpose but my arrival in complete. It is “in Christ Jesus” that God can take the mess of my life and turn it into a beautiful message and rendering of imperfect becoming perfection according to His Plan. God needs all my pieces. God needs all your pieces. When the churning inside of us begins – it is easy to slam the door to the deepest, darkest part of heart shut. However, to be the workmanship, masterpiece and work of art who Father God purposed you and I to be requires all of us.
Jeremiah 18:5-6 (AMP) Then the word of the Lord came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?” says the Lord. “Look carefully, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.
Life makes a mess. The idea of the Lord molding and shaping us is messy. Have you ever been in a pottery studio? The mud makes everything seem a little dingy. Paint is splattered all around. The burning smell of a kiln permeates the air. It is not a pretty place but necessary to make vessels. We used to take the girls when they were younger to a pottery store that allowed you to choose from a variety of premade objects to paint. The hardest part was choosing what to create. Society and even religion tries to form images of people. Roles are assigned. Responsibilities are delegated. Expectations are set. We make our plans but God had one all along that will be the only one that can satisfy and fulfill us. Will we allow Him to do it?
Clay becomes dry on the wheel so the potter adds a little water to keep it soft and moldable. Are you pliable in the Hands of God? Will you allow Him all the pieces of your life to water with His Word and shape with His Spirit? You were made for more than exists in your current life. How do I know? We are still breathing. Breath in our body is because there is more to life otherwise our life would be over and we would be present with the Lord. You have a purpose that requires every broken thing in your life. God has a plan. He can be trusted. Will you trust Him today?
2 Corinthians 4:7-10 (AMP) But we have this precious treasure [the good news about salvation] in [unworthy] earthen vessels [of human frailty], so that the grandeur and surpassing greatness of the power will be [shown to be] from God [His sufficiency] and not from ourselves. We are pressured in every way [hedged in], but not crushed; perplexed [unsure of finding a way out], but not driven to despair; hunted down and persecuted, but not deserted [to stand alone]; struck down, but never destroyed; always carrying around in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the [resurrection] life of Jesus also may be shown in our body.
The more yielded the vessel the greater its ability to persevere. I wonder today if we can look beyond the expectations of others into the eyes of Jesus. The Lord has a plan and purpose for our life. The transformation process requires transparency and flexibility. He needs all the pieces. He invites you into the Palm of His Hand. Will you trust Him today with everything? Those who do will experience pressure but not be crushed. They will be perplexed, but not in despair. They will be hunted down and persecuted by the enemy, but not deserted by the Lord. Though struck down, never destroyed. See life is messy. We are messy. The Potter is willing to get His Hands dirty and make us into the masterpiece. We must simply yield to the Potter’s Hands.
Isaiah 64:8 (AMP) Yet, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our Potter, and we all are the work of Your hand.