Tuesday, June 18, 2013

His Workmanship

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10

For the past couple of weeks, I have been meditating on this verse in the book of Ephesians. I wanted to get a deeper understanding as to what it means to be the workmanship of God. The word has no direct translation in the Hebrew or Greek, so I was left to look up its definition in the dictionary. The term is in reference to the process by which a product is created by a skilled artisan, someone who makes something by hand; labors over it. It involves skill, vision, patience, devotion and a passion for its creation.

If you ever go to an Arts and Crafts show, you will find the workmanship of artisans there. You will come across artistic creations made of precious stones, glass, wood, metals, fabric, and ceramic. These artists have perfected their skill. They have been endowed with the ability to create something unique and beautiful. You won’t be able to keep yourself from marveling over their ingenuity and talent. You’ll want to touch it, pick it up, and take a closer look. The workmanship will be so fantastic that it will even “speak” to you; some will say that it will even “move” you, and if you love it enough, you might even buy it. Man can’t help but appreciate the workmanship involved in the creation of a craft or art. I believe it is because God himself is the ultimate Artisan, and we carry His spiritual DNA in us.

I recently went to a Maritime museum that included a large building that was used for the building of boats. These beautiful works of art were being made by hand. Upon entering this huge building with large open doors on either side, to allow the sea breeze to blow through, your eyes were drawn to the myriad of things around the shop. Wood templates hung on the walls and rafters, artisan tools hung perfectly in order on the racks, and pictures of all types of boat designs hung on the walls with small wooden models on display. On the main floor of the building, men were carving and sanding the boat they were working on. I couldn’t help but stand on the balcony and just marvel at their ability. They felt the wood with their rough hands, checking it for imperfections. They knew every curve and feature of their creation. They took their job seriously because lives depended on it. It wasn’t just about the beauty of their craft but the purpose it needed to fulfill.

If man, who is flawed, can create such beautiful creations out of temporal materials, how much more magnificent are we as the workmanship of God?  “We are His workmanship” it reads in Ephesians. Can we even wrap our minds around that. Before we were even conceived He knew us, knew what we would do, knew the purpose of our lives. He took pleasure in bringing us into existence. We are more valuable than any craft or art that an artisan can create. 

"I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations." Jeremiah 1:5

Jeremiah was first envisioned by God before he was brought into existence. “I knew you before I formed you”. He knew his character, his demeanor, his strengths, and weaknesses. God told Jeremiah that his being was not in error. He designed him specifically to be set apart as a prophet. 

If God took the time to share this truth with Jeremiah, should we not also listen to these words as if they were being spoken to us directly? 

We were created by the Master Designer, God, with a purpose in His mind. It reads in Ephesians that we were created for "good works". This is not a work unto Salvation for Salvation is a free gift given without merit. The good work being talked about in this verse relates to the work that is needed to complete the saving plan of God for the world. We are called to fulfill the Great Commission mentioned in Matthew 28:16-20 to make Him known so that none should perish. His love for mankind is greater than we can even imagine. We are His workmanship designed to help complete the work He began with Jesus Christ. 

In the workmanship of our creation, God knew exactly how we would fit into His plan for the work of the church.We are not a mistake created without thought or purpose. This is completely contrary to anything God has ever done. All of God’s creations have a purpose whether it is the creation of the Universe or the creation of the Earth. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, so He is unchanging. His workmanship, all of it, has a purpose that benefits the many, but none more important than His saving grace unto Salvation.

"He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil." I John 3:8

"Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour." John 12:27

Jesus understood and embraced what He came to earth for. Without completing the work that was set before Him before the beginning of time, none of us would ever have the opportunity for eternal life.  Even as He stood in the Garden of Gethsemane with great anguish about what was to happen to Him, He never once failed to understand the importance of His work. He came that we may have Life.

"Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom [be] glory forever and ever. Amen." Hebrews 13:20-21

What about us? Are we ready to put our hand to the plow and do the work that God has commissioned us to do before the beginning of time? Are we ready to embrace the fact that we were designed with a purpose? The workmanship that went into each of us was not done without thought or intent. God knew every curve, every feature that needed to be part of who we are in order to accomplish the purpose of our being.

"…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete [it] until the day of Jesus Christ;" Philippians 1:6

There is no greater promise than this. Be confident, don't doubt, be bold in your walk for the Kingdom. It is He who began this work long ago in us, and it will be He who will complete it. We just need to align ourselves with His plan