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)
Sometimes there is quite a disconnect between the way God sees us and the way we see ourselves. As the popular saying goes, we are our own worst critics. Unfortunately, in this broken world, our negative perspective ends up reinforced by the hurtful words and actions from others we encounter.
Paul urges us in Romans 12 to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (see Romans 12:2); in simpler terms, the process of change begins first with a shift in how we think—something that rarely happens overnight. This makes the word “renew” particularly significant: the way we think is being made new again and again, a continual process.
Consider the word “masterpiece.” What comes to mind? Perhaps you think of a beautiful painting or architectural structure. Perhaps you hear the sounds of a piece of music or words of a great literary work.
When someone considers something they’ve done to be a masterpiece, they give it that designation because they feel it is the greatest thing they’ve ever accomplished. For the rest of the world to recognize something as a masterpiece, it generally must have qualities that are wholly unique, powerful and transcendent across generations.
If you were going to select something out of God’s creation to deem His masterpiece, what would it be? There is no shortage of magnificence to consider—the majesty of mountains, the grandeur of oceans, the vastness of galaxies. But no, from all the wonders in this universe, Paul tells us that we are God’s masterpiece. You and me.
One definition of the word masterpiece is “the consummate example of skill or excellence of any kind.” What an amazing thing to consider! The redemptive work God does in us is the ultimate example of His excellence!
Maybe this is hard to wrap your mind around (admittedly, most of us struggle to define ourselves in such terms). But that’s what makes it such a powerful example of the truth God wants to reveal to us about our identity. God sees us as His masterpiece, and He wants to impart that reality to us as we embrace His way of thinking.
A Practical Exercise
So how can you embrace God’s identity for you as His masterpiece? The answer lies in allowing the Holy Spirit to renew your mind, and inviting Him to change your perspective. The renewal of our minds is a process that must be undertaken intentionally and deliberately. The enemy does not want us to see ourselves through God’s eyes, so he is relentless with his lies and distractions. We have to be equally relentless in our pursuit of truth.
Here is a simple and practical exercise you can engage in periodically:
Find a quiet place with minimal distractions. Make a list of the negative things you have been believing or thinking about yourself. Consider self-criticisms or labels you have had placed on you by others. This may be hard or painful; don’t stop with this step or you will be very discouraged!
Prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit to show you which of these things are lies you have been believing about yourself. Ask Him to reveal which of these things are weaknesses the enemy is using to try to condemn you; invite His strength into those areas (see 2 Corinthians 12:9).
Look back at your list again and listen for the Holy Spirit’s truth and perspective on each of item you listed. Or, if you are in a season where you are having a hard time hearing the Holy Spirit’s voice (which is ok—we all have seasons like this!), consider sharing your list with a trusted friend, and ask them to speak truth over you.
This is an exercise we can come back to again and again, especially in seasons where we feel particularly discouraged or inadequate. Our hearts are made new as part of the miracle of salvation, but we learn daily to bring our souls—our mind, will and emotions—into alignment with the truth the Holy Spirit writes on our hearts.
Don’t lose hope. As relentless as the enemy is with his lies, the Holy Spirit is even more so with His love and truth. God is fully committed to you and has declared His unshakable love. Let this truth sustain you and give you hope:
Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. (Isaiah 54:10, NIV)