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Thursday, April 19, 2012

made in His image

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 (NLT)

Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Ephesians 1:4 (The Message)

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV)

I was sitting with some friends this morning talking about what it means that we are created in the image of God.  We were looking at Psalm 139 and taking in the beauty of God’s intricate and intentional design of each of us—not just our bodies, but our hearts, souls, minds, and spirits as well.  We were realizing together that each one of us began as an idea in the mind and heart of God—a dream, if you will—that brought a smile to His face and joy to His heart.  And as we talked about this incredible mystery, we began to wonder out loud why it is that if indeed we were dreamt into being by such a loving and imaginative Creator, why each one of us feels like it is such a distant reality…if a reality at all.  Why is it so hard for us to believe that we are God’s masterpiece?  Why is it so difficult to convince ourselves that each and every one of us is a uniquely beautiful expression of His power, love, and creativity?  Why is it so much easier to believe that we are no good, nothing special, worthless? 

I read recently about a painting by Leonardo da Vinci that for centuries was believed to have been lost, but has now been discovered in Florence, Italy covered over by the painting of other artists.  Currently experts are working—carefully yet diligently—to cut through the layers of paint that have been applied on top of the da Vinci throughout the centuries in an effort to get down to the original masterpiece; one that is the direct work of the hands of the master.  Can you imagine...a masterpiece covered-over...by years and years of other people’s splatterings?  Can you imagine painting over the top of a da Vinci?  Who would do such a thing…and why? 

But the more I thought about it, the more it didn’t sound so far-fetched.  As a matter of fact, the more it sounded like exactly what happens to each of us every day, if we aren’t paying careful attention.  Each day we allow so many things—the comments, opinions, and impressions of others, as well as the woundedness, insecurity, and pain of our own hearts—to paint over the top of the beautiful masterpiece God has created us to be.  His image within us—that was meant to be an expression of his heart and his character—has been tarnished and painted over time after time after time.  So much so that many of us have completely lost touch with the fact that we were created in His image to begin with.  What we need is a daily reminder; a daily work of recovery.  One to help us remember that, in spite of all the layers of whatever that has accumulated upon us through the years, covering up the beautiful work of the Master’s hands, the truth remains that, at our core, we are still a fearfully and wonderfully made creation of the great Artist of all things.

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