“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).
If I were called to the hospital bedside of a person who just attempted but failed to take their own life, I think I would bring this verse.
If I were asked to give a graduation convocation at a Christian college and send forth a group of young leaders into the big scary world, I might send them out armed with this verse.
If I were addressing a guild of artists, or writers, or innovative entrepreneurs I might inspire them with this verse.
If I were speaking at the nursing home chapel to elderly folks who believe their life is now behind them, I might remind them of this verse.
Packed into this one explosive verse are some of the most vital things we need to get on in this world. I can list at least 4 that all conveniently start with P.
1. Preciousness. Any person who has ever questioned their value and self-worth needs to let this scripture speak lovingly in their ear. The Creator God of the universe who gave us the stars, the distant galaxies, the Grand Canyon, sunsets by the ocean, waterfalls, and the entire animal kingdom, this same God declares that YOU are his best masterpiece! YOU are His most cherished work! The Greek word translated “masterpiece” is poiema and is where we get our word “poem.” Your very life is God’s carefully crafted poem, written with his own hand, for all the world to read and stand amazed. YOU are His most prized labor of love!
Have you ever made something special with your hands? A project that took you long, painstaking hours to finish? Something that would devastate you if something should happen to it? The architect’s house. The composer’s magnum opus. The author’s definitive novel. Michaelangelo’s David sculpture. Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Gepetto’s woodcarved Pinnocchio.
None of these human masterpieces come close to God’s own masterpiece: you. To the room full of artists and entrepreneurs who want to give themselves wholly to some grand project or life work, I urge them to grasp the mind-blowing fact that God has invested his eternal existence working away in his shop at perfecting you. You’re His burning passion and labor of love!
2. Purpose. Back at the bedside of the person recovering from a suicide attempt, I not only bring them this word about their infinite worth and value in God’s eyes. I also point out from this verse that they have some special divine work God has prepared for them that only they can do. They are alive for some greater purpose. I hold their hand and look into their eye and read, “He has created you anew in Christ Jesus, so you can do the good things he planned for you long ago.” And then I can say with confidence, “For what greater purpose do you think God spared you? I wonder what special task God has for you to do? Let’s wonder about that for a bit.”
To the elderly person whose body is failing them, whose eyes prevent them from reading, arthritis has taken their ability to play the piano or knit scarves, and who therefore also thinks their purpose in life has now passed, I bring the same word from God. I gently ask you: Do you see an expiration date on the truth that you are infinitely precious in God’s sight — His masterpiece? Where is the shelf life stated on your purpose?
3. Partnership. Standing before a graduating class absorbed with questions about their uncertain future, what they want to give their life to, and facing all the fears failure and wrestling with feelings of inadequacy, I bring a word of an unstoppable partnership offered to them. We don’t need to pursue the work God has created for us to do on our own. The recruiter for the Kingdom of God, Inc. has called and offered us an apprenticeship under the Son of God. “He has created you anew in Christ Jesus…” We are made anew in deep partnership with Christ. We are in lasting relationship with Christ. We are being sent out into the world with an inseparable union with the King of Kings. What belongs to him, belongs to us. We have access to all his resources as we pursue this new life with God. “And if God is for us, then who can be against us?” (Romans 8)
4. Power. The fourth explosive truth in this power packed verse is that we are created anew in the power of Christ. Thankfully, we are not just given a new purpose and partner in Kingdom living, but also the power needed to get on with this work. God doesn’t just show us the new target and say, “Good luck hitting it!” Rather, “he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver” (Isa. 49:2). He takes me up with his bow and catapults me by his Spirit-power toward the goal, empowering me to do the work that he prepared for me long ago!
A companion verse for this powerful truth is Phil 2:12-13 that reminds us that God is both the goal of our work and also the source of power to accomplish it: “Continue working out your salvation with awe and reverence, for the one bringing forth in you both the desire and the effort—for the sake of his good pleasure—is God.”
So, let’s us celebrate these four game-changing truths today:
We are infinitely precious to God.
We have a divine purpose for our lives.
We have an unstoppable partnership with Christ Jesus.
We have been given the power to do the work God has prepared for us.
Thanks be to God!