For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
In 1980 Sandy and I went on a Marriage Encounter weekend, and followed up with an ME group for several months. ME seemed to have two main goals: first, to improve communication skills of both marriage partners; and second, to improve individual self-images as well as the image we each had of our mates. When it came to the first goal, I think we benefitted more out of the fact that we were both willing to do whatever was necessary to better our relationship, than from the actual “tools” that ME gave us to help us to improve our communication skills. However, with regard to the second of these goals, during the initial weekend marriage enrichment experience we must have heard the slogan “God doesn’t make junk” at least two dozen times; and I think it sunk in. In fact, if you asked me today what my purpose in life is, I’d have a list; but near the top I’d have the encouragement of others, to see themselves as God sees them – as His Masterpiece.
The primary thing ME lacked in this area was the recognition that a strong image of self is primarily dependent on an understanding that each of us is a special creation of God Almighty, crafted in His own image, and for a specific important purpose. Not only did God Himself breathe life into each one of us; at the moment of our conception, the God of the entire universe began crafting a masterpiece. Each unique person is intended to perform a significant role in His kingdom.
Bitter childhood memories will blind a person to God’s goodness
Unfortunately, we have an enemy that does everything in his power to keep human beings like you and I blinded to this wonderful truth. Over the years I’ve provided spiritual advice to many people, men mostly, who have had some pretty difficult childhoods. Some endured years of physical and verbal abuse. Some whom their mothers tried to abort using drugs or throwing themselves down stairs, but who only hurt themselves. When their sons survived, they blamed them for all their problems – making sure they knew it was “their fault” for their screwed up lives after that. Still others were abandoned by one or both parents – and other relatives made sure they knew they weren’t wanted.
I’m sure there are some reading this blog who have had very tough childhoods. Maybe you had one or both parents that you weren’t real proud of, because of the life they chose to live. Or maybe they ignored you and just went about thinking only of themselves. And you had to grow up by yourself and learned things the hard way – and often the wrong way. You may “get older” and think you’ve put that all behind when you become an adult (even a Christian) – but if God doesn’t intervene, it’s going to affect everything you do in the future. It’s going to continue to affect your self-esteem.
God stands waiting to change your situation
Only God can change that – and He stands waiting to step in and free every person from this burden. Regardless of your personal background – no human being is immune from the temptation to compare self with another – and there’s always someone who can do something better or faster than you, or more to the crowd’s satisfaction. You were not created to compare. You were created to please an audience of One and make a significant difference with your life. You are God’s special treasure, selected by Him and for Him. You are created in the image of Almighty God.
Whenever you feel “not good enough” or whenever the devil tries to put condemnation on you for past, forgiven sins, just read what God has to say about you and what He’s already done for you. You are the apple of His eye (Psalm 17:18); you were worth dying for (John 15:13); He gave His best for you, His only begotten Son (Romans 8:32); He thinks of you all the time, even when you’re asleep (Psalm 40:5); He takes it personal when anyone offends you (Matthew 25:40); He’s assigned personal body guards (angels) to watch over you (Psalm 34:7). And the list goes on and on. Then repeat the words of Psalm 139:14-16, making it your personal prayer:
“Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – and how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”
And remember: He made you exactly the way He intended, and He equipped you with everything you need. You have the strength (through His Holy Spirit) to stand strong in the midst of difficult situations, and the wisdom it takes to make good decisions. Understanding exactly Whose you are, and how you fit-in God’s plan.
You are a person of destiny. You have an assignment and you are full of gifts, talents, encouragement and love. You have rich treasure inside you that people need. You have more in you that you realize, and you can accomplish more than you ever thought possible. You are a person of destiny, because you can leave your mark on this generation. Understand you are important, and out of your importance, know that you are called to add value to the world around you. No matter where you are in life today, you have potential to increase, grow, to be strengthened, and to move forward. God created you for His good purpose, and know that beyond a shadow of a doubt, you are His masterpiece.