May 10, 2010
Philippians 1:4-6 (NIV) "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."
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.
There are many days that I wish God's work in my life was complete - days when I frustrate myself by choosing weak self-living over powerful Spirit-living - days when I'm undisciplined and in great need of heart fixing, fully aware that God's work in me is unfinished.
I long to be the woman God intends for me to be, yet know that I'm not there yet. It grieves my heart. Have you ever felt that way? Do you ever long to be farther along in your sanctification process than you are? The journey from broken into beautiful is a lifelong transformation that requires both spiritual discipline and a Master Artist.
As Michelangelo was working, I'm sure many 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 completed parts 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 only see 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.
Here's an exciting word for today: God loves you right where you are even though you are an unfinished work. Nothing you can do or say could make Him love you more or less. When you are His child, Scripture tells us that nothing can separate you from His love (Romans 8:38-39). He loves you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). He's not done with you yet, so hang on and lean in. Press on and keep seeking Him! Be encouraged, friend. You're in good hands when you are in the hands of God, the Master Artist. Philippians 1:5-6 (NIV) "...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."
Dear God, 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 these verses: "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
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