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].
Our abilities, personalities, and physical features are no accident. God has crafted each of us just the way He wanted to. Paul wrote that we are God’s “workmanship.” The Greek word for workmanship is poiema, from which, of course, we get our word poem. Poetry is a beautiful expression of thought, carefully structured and meticulously worded. The meter of each line and choice of each word come together to maximize the meaning. And these things don’t just happen by chance. They are the product of the poet’s skill, intention, and detail.
In the same way, God crafts each of us by using His skill to shape our personalities and give us the abilities and appearances He has chosen for us. No one is created just like another because no one has the same purpose God has given each of us. Paul also tells his readers that God’s purpose isn’t something He dreams up along the way. God prepared His purpose for us long ago, “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4)
When we feel prideful because we’ve accomplished a lot, we need to realize where our abilities come from. On the other hand, if we’re confused or discouraged because we can’t seem to discover the meaning for our lives, we can rest assured that Almighty God has a divine purpose for us. Either way, we can remember that God is the poet, and we are His poems.
In my mind there is no doubt that those who use their talents to serve the Lord will truly enter into the joy of the Lord.
God does not love us because we are valuable. We are valuable because God loves us.-Fulton J. Sheen
As we take a deeper look at Ephesians 2:10 we read that we are God’s masterpiece. Psalm 139 tells us:
For You formed my innermost parts; You knit me [together] in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.
The implication is that none of us were built on an assembly line but that each of us was carefully crafted as a master builder would create an art of work. Each part of us was carefully created and fit together to make us the person we are. Many times we work hard trying to be something else or to be someone else and all the while we have been “fearfully and wonderfully made” with everything that makes us the wonderful work of God. Discovering this truth is liberating. Now the world majors in convincing us that we need their product to make us acceptable, beautiful, intelligent or whatever we think we lack. The world majors in making us feel less than, having some lack or falling short of some standard. And the reason for all that is to enslave us to some thing that we can’t live without.
Every human is “fearfully and wonderfully made” but just as any masterpiece, they can be broken or distorted or misused and abused. From the beginning of time the devil has sought to destroy the masterpiece of God. Think about all he offers and all the sins people engage in that will ultimately destroy them, though they began as the masterpiece of God. Suppose you built or had build a carefully crafted home and you let someone move in who had no care for that home and each day misused it, broke the fixtures, scuffed up the floor, made holes in the walls, and in general trashed up the place. I’m sure you would be horrified that your masterpiece was treated in such manner. You would first move to evict the tenant who was causing so much damage. This is exactly the picture of God and his relationship with us. When we were created, we were created as work of art, “fearfully and wonderfully made.” But the devil moved in and tore up the place leaving the beautiful masterpiece in disarray and devastation. Once he accomplishes this he moves on to the next place and begins again for his desire to to utterly destroy all that God has created.
Jesus comes by and sees the destruction of His crafted masterpiece. Now He could just pass it by and choose instead to create another masterpiece except that in its creation He has invested Himself. He waits for an invitation and when we invite Him into the mess of our lives, He begins to carefully restore us to what He originally designed us to be.
Listen to the choice of words Paul uses: “created in Christ Jesus, reborn from above, spiritually transformed, renewed, and ready to be used for good works.” We aren’t just some kind of accident. We aren’t just some cookie-cut creation. We are the hand-crafted masterpiece of God. If the devil has broken, destroyed, misused, or misdirected our purpose, when we invite Christ into our hearts, He begins a re-creation in us. “Created in Christ Jesus.” He doesn’t come in and patch things up. No bandaids or sewn patches or new wood patched into the old. When Christ comes in we are “reborn from above.” We start all over from the beginning as though none of the destruction has occurred. Listen to what 2 Corinthians says:
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life].” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Every person who will yield themselves to God has already been given a purpose and place in the work of God. None will ever be completely satisfied until they are who God designed them to be and doing what God designed for them to do. We may attempt to become someone else but we will never be happy trying to be that. We may try to fill our lives with many things, activities, careers, but we will never feel complete until we are allowing the Master Builder to use us as He chooses.
I pray that today you will open your heart and life to the God who created you and you will come to know that He who created you did so with loving thought and care. I pray you will become content with the you that God created and that you will cease the futile pursuit to be someone else. I pray you will find your place, your work, your assignment in the kingdom of God and in doing so find contentment and joy.
Dr. John Thompson