May 22, 2009
The Master Artist
“In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:4-6, NIV)
Friend to Friend
It took four years of fresco painting for the Italian Renaissance sculptor, painter, architect, and poet Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, commonly known as Michelangelo, to finish the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Most of his time painting was spent alone, on his back, lying on scaffolding. (How painful!) The painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is one of the most remarkable in the history of Western art. One thing is for sure: the process that altered a ceiling from plain to fabulous required a lot of time, great discipline, and the hand of a master artist. The same is true for us. The journey from broken into beautiful is a lifelong transformation that requires both discipline and a Master Artist.
As Michelangelo was working, I’m sure that lots of people came through the corridors of the chapel and stood in amazement. As they looked up at the beauty of his work, I bet they said things like, “That is the most fantastic work of art I have ever seen!” or “Extraordinary!” To which he might have said, “It’s not done!” But did the unfinished state of the project negate that parts of the ceiling were beautiful? No! The parts that were complete were still extravagant and breathtaking.
Maybe this is the way God and others see our lives. It’s common for people to notice the work God has done in us and comment on the beauty. And even though compliments are nice to hear, I’ve been known to resist them. (Admit it, you probably have too.) It’s not so much a humility thing as it is an “I-don’t-see-myself-as-beautiful” thing. From my limited perspective, I can see only the unfinished work. But in truth, my vantage point doesn’t negate the beauty of the work God has done and is doing in my life. Real beauty isn’t about a finished or flawless product. It can’t be. It’s not possible on this side of eternity to have completed beauty. Our restoration will be complete in the presence of God when we see Him face to face.
So be encouraged today. Remember that you’re in good hands when you are in the hands of God, the Master Artist. “...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:5-6, NIV)
Thank you for your ability to look at my life and see the potential. Would you take my brokenness - all that I am - and piece together a work of beauty that can reflect your splendor? Help me to bring everything to you until your work in me is made complete in your presence.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Read the book of Philippians this week! It is only four chapters...but they are so powerful! Be energized and spurred on by the Word of God as He continues to work on your beauty.
Memorize and write out this verse: “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I d Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14, NIV)
More from the Girlfriends
On her latest CD, Unsearchable, Gwen leads worshipers to the heart of the Master Artist. The songs invite you to experience Christ through lyrics and melodies that reinforce His sustaining power of healing through brokenness and mercy through trial. Unsearchable, a LIVE recording, is an intimate portrait of 12 familiar and new songs including corporate worship moments with songs like, "Jesus I Am Resting" and "Through All Generations," and introspective expressions of faith with the title track of "Unsearchable" and "Broken into Beautiful." To order Gwen’s CD, UNSEARCHABLE, please CLICK HERE.
Spend sometime before the Lord in worship today! If you’d like Gwen to lead you to HIS presence through music, CLICK HERE!
Are you a Face Book GIG? Check out Gwen's MUSIC PAGE on FaceBook! Listen to her songs on the page, sign up to be her FB friend, leave a message on her wall, and tell your girlfriends about it! :-)
Click here to learn more about hosting a Girlfriends in God conference in your area or having one of the GiGs speak at your next women's event.
Originally published Friday, 22 May 2009.