Let’s take an honest look at ourselves. Do we struggle with anger, whether we explode at others or hold it inside? How about with idols, perhaps money or food? Or maybe even less obvious, an overly busy schedule that leaves no time for your relationship with Christ. Generally, when we look at our friends or family members, we do not see the “big” sins, but these are just as dangerous. These sins threaten our relationships with God. We become so accustomed to the action, we begin to believe that is who we are. Perhaps we think there is no hope or we could never change. Or, just maybe, it becomes such a part of us we do not even notice that we no longer seek God. Evil is like that. It creeps in through even the smallest opening. Does this leave us stuck in sin, never realizing our full potential? There answer is an unequivocal NO!
Ephesians 2:8-10 tells us “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” God created us to do good works and he will continue to work on us to meet our purpose.
In Chapter 3 of Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst, she shares an image of two sculptures that illustrates very clearly the need for God to “chisel” at our hard places. We were created to do good works, and God wants us to recognize and address those areas we are falling short of his plan for us.
TerKeurst looks at the iconic sculpture David crafted by Michelangelo. The David is, of course, meant to be a marble likeness of the Biblical figure who slayed Goliath. Michelangelo was given a flawed piece of marble that had been originally commissioned to another artist. He reportedly worked for more than two years on this masterpiece, never leaving its side, even sleeping beside the figure. The artist is reported to have said, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” When asked how he made the statue, Michelangelo claimed, “It is easy. You just chip away that stone that doesn’t look like David.” (p. 35)
There are also several of Michelangelo’s unfinished works on display in the same place as David. Four such statues are aptly titled Prisoners. Looking at the statues, it is as if the finished masterpiece is forever trapped inside, leaving parts of the work incomplete. Which do you aspire to be: an unfinished work, your full potential never being realized or a beautiful masterpiece, the pieces which God did not envision for you chiseled away to reveal the creation you were meant to be? Lysa TerKeurst shares my feelings on this beautifully: “O God, chisel me. I don’t want to be locked in my hard places forever. I want to be free. I want to be all that You have in mind for me to be.” She goes on to say she realized, “It is beautiful when the Master chisels.”(p.36)
What are those areas that you need to allow God to chisel? The beautiful thing about the gift of God’s salvation is that we do not need to be permanently trapped in our sins and shortcomings. God shows us these areas that need chiseled not so we will label ourselves as worthless, but so we can escape the darkness and come into His light to be the masterpiece He intended. God does not want us to simply appear good, he wants us, sin and all, to accept his gift of salvation, and repent so that we might be free from the prison of sin. God wants belief, not only an intellectual belief, but one that requires action; movement towards the masterpiece He sees in us.
The Bible tells us in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” God knows we will sin and fall short. He says as much in Romans 3:23: “Since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” He does not intend for us to stay in our sin. That is not what his death on the cross represents. Instead, he wants us to keep faith, allow him to chisel our unfinished parts, recognizing that the masterpiece will not truly be finished until we see God in Heaven.
The Bible is rich with stories of people who fell short of expectations, who, instead of giving up and labeling themselves as worthless, let God chisel. Will you allow yourself a new beginning, free from sin, because you trust God to lead you to your full potential?
Finally, here is a poem shared at the end of Chapter 3 that captures the beauty of creation. (p. 41-42)
The Master’s Touch
By : Horatius Bonar (1808-89)
|IN the still air the music lies unheard;|
|In the rough marble beauty hides unseen;|
|To wake the music and the beauty needs|
|The master’s touch, the sculptor’s chisel keen.|
|Great Master, touch us with thy skilful hand,||5|
|Let not the music that is in us die;|
|Great Sculptor, hew and polish us; nor let,|
|Hidden and lost, thy form within us lie.|
|Spare not the stroke; do with us as thou wilt;|
|Let there be nought unfinish’d, broken, marr’d;||10|
|Complete thy purpose, that we may become|
|Thy perfect image, O our God and Lord.|