8 January 2018

Hello all and welcome again to another week of Foundations Daily. My name is Liam and I’m part of the staff team here at STC. Thanks again for listening. It’s an absolute privilege to be able to share a short thought from the Bible each day this week.

REFLECTION

Last week, our team leader here, Mick, shared a series of thoughts from Mark’s Gospel which helped us to consider where we are in our own personal faith journey with Jesus. Today, we’re starting a new series as we look together at the letters of the New Testament. We begin this week by looking at St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Today’s passage is Ephesians 2:8-10 which you can hear read in the full at the end of this podcast. I’m going to focus on verse 10.

‘For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.’

This verse contains one of the great truths for us all as followers of Jesus. We are God’s handiwork.

This can also be translated as God’s workmanship. And in another version as God’s masterpiece. In the Greek, the word used is poiema which we get the English word ‘poem’ from. It gets across the idea that we have each been carefully crafted and thoughtfully designed by God – the almighty creator. We are God’s masterpiece. We are his poem. C.S Lewis puts it like this, ‘We are a divine work of art’. This is a fundamental truth about who we are.

And that word, ‘poeima’ says so many things but it says this – we are hand crafted by THE master designer, by God himself and therefore we are of great value. I read that Leonardo de Vinci’s painting, The Saviour of the World, was recently sold for an eye watering £450 million. If that’s how much people are willing to pay for a piece of art painted by a human hand, how much more valuable are we as a one-off, unique, piece of divine artwork created by Almighty God himself? Quite literally this truth alone blows my mind a bit!

It’s a verse I’ve often used in assemblies to secondary school students. I remember using this verse on one of our youth weekends away. Teenagers really need to hear the message that they are God’s masterpiece because, from my experience, they so often find themselves doing the opposite – treating their bodies and minds as if they were worthless or seeking that validation in other places, through other people, through other means.

But whatever our age, we need to hear this message again and again. Because let’s be honest – we don’t always feel like a masterpiece. Maybe it’s just me? We may get up in the morning and we may look at ourselves in the mirror after another night of broken sleep and think I look wrecked! We may be in the midst of going through a period of illness, of battling a long term health problem. We may be in a job where others have said things that have chipped away at our confidence. We may not feel like a piece of divine art work. And we can let these things define us.

But this scripture says that we are God’s handiwork. We are defined by our creator and not our circumstance. We are a masterpiece…but we’re also a work in progress.

I’m a shocking artist. But I know this much – it’s a process. It takes time to sketch things out, to fill in the lines, to match the colours etc.

We are God’s masterpiece. God’s already got the end painting for our lives in mind. It’s already finished. It’s done. It’s completed. On the cross, Christ has won that great victory for our lives, for our future. We are justified. We are put right with God. We will enjoy an eternal relationship with Him. What a work of art that is!

But there’s also a process, a period of time where we are discovering more of this life that Christ ultimately has for us, more of what it means to live like him, to think, to talk, to act as Jesus does. More of what it means to know his hope in difficult circumstances. More of what it means to know just how much we are worth. To be able to step back as it were and view just how beautiful this gift, this painting, this life that God has given us really is.

This verse reminds us that God has completely sorted our past – we are forgiven. He has completely secured our future – we are saved. And this verse inspires us to lift our heads in the present and to know we are being sanctified – we are God’s masterpiece – and we are in the process of discovering just what that means.

The last part of verse 10 challenges us to look to God and whatever our circumstance today say, ‘I’m going to live for you.’ ‘I’m going to discover more of the masterpiece you made me to be’. ‘I’m going to walk in the good works that you have prepared especially for me.’ Let’s commit to doing that today. Let’s pray.

PRAYER

God – thank you that you made us. That we are your handiwork. Thank you that through Jesus, and his death on the cross, we can know you and this new life you came to give us. Help us to walk into today we’re our heads held high – secure in who we are whatever our circumstance. May we see your hand at work in all that we do –as we seek to serve you in our homes, in our schools and in our workplaces. Amen.

READING: EPHESIANS 2:8-10

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.