”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, ESV

I tore into the plain, brown paper wrapping and squealed with delight. A box filled with fresh watercolor paints pleaded to be placed into the hands of a young artist. Quickly, I found a sheet of paper and immersed myself in my creation.

I loved to spend time at my father’s art studio where there was always an abundant supply of paper, pencils, paints, and paternal praise―everything a young Rembrandt would need. I regret that my budding artist career came years before the day of refrigerator magnets, however, my masterpieces always found a place of honor in our home. It was natural for me to follow in my father’s footsteps.

Once in fourth-grade art class our assignment was to copy a picture of a bird on a flowering tree limb. I set about my work with resolve but failed to measure up to the high standard I’d set for myself—I resorted to plagiarism. Carefully laying my paper over the image, I traced its outline with meticulous strokes. Later, when my teacher held up each work before the class, he asked me if I’d traced mine. Of course I answered, “No.” In my innocence, I believed I’d fooled him.

Sadly, there are still times I’m unwilling to invest the effort required to achieve optimal results. This applies not only to my life’s creative expression but its spiritual as well. My impatience produces half-hearted attempts as I sprint to a premature finish. Developing any skill requires a lifetime of dedicated study and hard work. The same is true for maturing in Christ and living out our purpose.

Fulfilling God’s vision requires prayerful time in his presence, intensive study, obedience to his Word, and an earnest resolve to follow the leading of his Holy Spirit. Our approach must be intentional. There are no shortcuts. No patterns to trace—simply, his footsteps to follow.

I still have my childhood paint box. The wells previously filled with fresh, vibrant, and varied colors now all contain the same dull shade of dirty brown—a reminder of the child artist in such a hurry to paint her masterpiece that she neglected to rinse out her brush.

More than a generation later I wonder if I continue to muddy my life’s canvas. Do I still trace someone else’s image, or do I follow the unique pattern my Father has marked out for me?

What’s your approach? Is your masterpiece one that will hold a place of honor in your Father’s house? You need only offer him originals. He knows the difference. 

Now it’s your turn. What is one way you intentionally align yourself with God’s vision for your life?

I always welcome your comments


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