See the Masterpiece

Years ago Victoria and I were building a house. The foundation was poured, most of the framing was done, and the roof was in place but not shingled when a big storm moved in, and it rained for two days. When it cleared up, the house was such a mess. The living room looked like a dirty swimming pool with plywood floating around on about a foot of water. Workers had tracked in mud all throughout the house. Outside there was discarded lumber and trash piled high that couldn't be picked up because of the deep mud. It looked like a disaster. What's interesting is that we didn't say, "Stop building! It's never going to be what we wanted." We knew the mess was all a part of the building process to get a beautiful house.

In the same way, you have to see the things that are messy in your life, things you struggle with, things that seem out of place as simply under construction. It doesn't mean it's not going to work out. That water in your living room—the disappointment, the delay, the betrayal—you may not like it, but it's just part of the process. You're under construction. You can't become all you were created to be without messy times. To the untrained eye, the construction site can seem disorganized and random, but the architect isn't concerned because he drew the plans and knows exactly where it's going. Your architect and builder is the Most High God. He's designed a specific plan for your life, which the messy places can't stop. God's already taken into account all the delays, the things you don't understand, and even the mistakes you've made. You may think your dream can never work out, but God is saying, "You're right on schedule. You're not a finished product. I'm still working on you. What I started I'm going to bring to completion."

The enemy will whisper, "Look at you, such a mess. It will never work out." Just say to him, "I'm under construction. I have some messy areas, but God's still working on me." The apostle Paul said, "We are God's masterpiece" (Ephesians 2:10). You may not be there yet, but stop beating yourself up. Your attitude should be, "I'm a masterpiece in the making." When that voice tells you how you don't measure up and how you've done too much wrong, just say, "Yes, but I'm under God's construction. I'm growing, I'm coming up higher, and I know that He's going to finish what He started."

Look beyond the mess and see the masterpiece.


The God of the Inside

I think you'll agree that it's easy to feel ordinary. We go to work, come home, eat dinner, go to bed, get up the next morning and do it again—it feels so ordinary. We may wonder if we're accomplishing what God wants us to accomplish. We may think that if we were doing a little better spiritually, we wouldn't be in the difficulty we're in. Perhaps if we could just get a little closer to God, we wouldn't be going through a trial. That's the way we look at things—from the outside, by what's going on around us.

But that's not how God sees it. He looks on the inside, at what's going on in our heart. When God sent the prophet Samuel to anoint one of the sons of Jesse to be the next king of Israel, He told Samuel to not look at their appearance. He said, "People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7). He was saying to Samuel, "You look from the outside. You respond to life from the outside. But I am God of the inside."

Today you need to know that God didn't call you by name, He didn't choose you to be His child, and He didn't give His life for you so that you would be ordinary. He called you to be extraordinary. You are set apart by God. He has assignments for you to do, and He equipped you for your unique assignment. He has good plans for your life, and He put everything in you that you need for anything He calls you to do. Your gifts and talents, your personality and disposition—everything is just right.

You're extraordinary today because God chose you to be extraordinary. He looked at your heart and said, "You're My child. There's no one else like you." What I love about that is that God is always on the inside of us, and He's working from the inside out. He's working on our thoughts and our actions because He's always at work in our heart. David said it like this: "You teach me wisdom in my innermost parts" (Psalm 51:6). God communicates with us in our hearts. So walk in humility because you know the God whom you serve. And remember that He put His power in you to accomplish the assignments He has for you because you have the living God dwelling within you!


Listen Closely and Follow

Many times we don't realize that God is speaking to us. We feel an impression on the inside, a prompting to be good to someone. That's not random. That's God talking to us. Or maybe you're in a situation that seems fine, but you feel an uneasiness. Something says, "It's not right. Stay away." That's not just your nerves. It's God protecting you. Don't ignore it, don't talk yourself out of it; just obey. If you'll follow that still, small voice, God says, "I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go" (Psalm 32:8). The Holy Spirit is in each one of us to guide us. If we're listening to His still, small voice—the promptings, the suggestions, the alarms—He will save us from heartache and pain. He'll lead us into promotion and favor.

When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, He said, "Do not add other laws or subtract from these; just obey them" (Deuteronomy 4:2). He was saying, "Don't debate it, overanalyze it, or try to figure it out. Just do it." Too often we feel these impressions on the inside, but we dismiss them as not making sense, or override or overanalyze them. Don't talk yourself out of it. Just obey. Anytime you obey, a blessing will always follow. 

A friend of mine was in a church service when he noticed a woman and something on the inside said, "Give her a gift." It was so strong. But his mind said, "She'll think you're crazy, and she doesn't look like she needs money." He kept pushing it off, but he couldn't get away from this impression. When he looked in his wallet, all he had was five dollars. He thought, "I'd be embarrassed to give her so little." But the longer he waited, the more miserable he felt. He knew he was supposed to do it. Finally he got his nerve up, walked over to her and said, "You don't know me, but I feel like I'm supposed to give you this," placing the dollars in her hand. She looked at it and started crying. She explained, "I only had enough gas to get to church. I asked God to give me the gas money to get back home." She hugged him and said, "You're the answer to my prayer!"

God knows what He's doing. He can see what you can't see. He has secrets He wants to whisper to you, inside information that will lead you down the best path for your life. If you'll be sensitive to His voice, there's no limit to where God will take you.