Friday, August 3, 2018

The craftsman at work

I don't know about you all, but I have projects that were begun with the best of intentions, but just never really came to the place of really being 'finished' in the timeframe I expected. It took longer than I thought, was more involved than I imagined, or just cost a little bit more than I may have realized when I began the work. Sometimes I get creative and take on the design of something - like a new raised bed or the huge project of garage organization. No real pattern to follow - I just set out with a vision in mind. The problem with these types of projects is that we seldom understand the cost, intensity, or true outcome of the project. It is actually very freeing to have an example to follow - acting as a guide by which we formulate our work and direct our effort. Even in how we choose to live our lives, we want examples - at least one. When we no longer have to "figure out" what it is that we are expected to be, how we are to live our lives, or what our next move should be, it is quite liberating. Even if we don't realize it, we have a pattern for our lives established well in advance of each new breath we breathe. God decided long before you or I breathed our first breath on this earth what our lives should be like - he shaped the very fibers of our being with the purpose of living according to his purpose. There is a plan!

29-30 God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.
(Romans 8:29-30)

When we really begin to grasp the reality of that statement, we can begin to live a transformed life - a patterned life.  You see, when we are no longer needing to decide the direction our life should take, we are free to pursue the purpose of one who already knows what the plan looks like!  It is also very satisfying to know that what God begins, he takes to full or total completion!  God isn't into making junk - something that serves a purpose for a time and then is discarded somewhere down the road - he finishes what he starts (unlike some of us). He is all about making works of art - things of beauty to be treasured for eternity.  God planned for us to be his kids - it was his ultimate goal that he should have us in his family. After making this plan, he sent out the invitation - our part is to accept the invitation. Once we have taken on the new "family name" (a child of God), he sets us up for all we need to walk according to his purposes. Now established on that strong foundation, we can be assured that he will complete the work of growing us up in his family. To be truthful here, there just isn't any room for us to deviate from the plan! I don't see any deviation in the plan, do you?  He does the work, we respond to the calling, he completes that which we were called to be - children of the living God.  We may fail to acknowledge his grace on occasion, even stumble and fall a little, but we are still part of his family, under his care, soon to be moving according to his plan and purpose again!

Woohoo!  We serve a good God!  Awesome in every way!  We need to celebrate the grace of God in our lives.  We need to enjoy (truly embrace) the plan of God - his working in us, making us into works of art!  An artist has an end in mind when he begins his work - it may not be evident when the first brush-stroke hits the canvas, or the first clump of clay is placed on the wheel, but he has a "vision" for the "finished-product". We sometimes get so "wigged-out" by the fact that we don't look like or act like a "finished-product" of God.  Don't lose hope!  God is still making brush strokes and tenderly shaping the clay.  Keep this one thing in mind:  He who begun a good work in you will be SURE to complete it! The plan is only the starting spot - the hand of the craftsman is what allows the plan to be worked into the finished product! Just sayin!