Francois-Auguste Rodin, a french sculpturer, once said, “I choose a block of marble and chop off whatever I don’t need.” That is the art of sculpture in a very simple, but astutely wise observation. Anything that does not represent itself as part of the final picture is deemed unnecessary and removed. However, common sense would also dictate that once a chip is removed from the block, it is impossible to replace it. The deed is done. In the case of sculpture, one bad chop and the whole piece can be ruined.
We deal day to day with different stresses in our lives, and not all things go perfect. As we work to navigate the rivers of a successes and trials in our lives, we, as Christians, pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to help us through this. We hope that with the master artist above that our lives will be carved with the beauty that blesses the Lord and the bad, ugly chips are minimal.
However, because we are human, we naturally worry too much about things and the events of the day. Trusting in the Lord in this area of our lives is often one of the most difficult things for Christians to learn, much less put into practice. Moreover, while some people base their level of joy in the lack of catastrophic events in their lives, therefore concluding they must be living right, others base their joy in their possessions. The downside is their lack of joy is stimulated by what they do not have. If they cannot “keep up with the Jones,” they feel inadequate and so their joy wanes.
Joy is an ongoing condition of the soul that does not change with circumstance. It is the sense of contentment in that we have what we need, both in possessions, attitude and spirit, and that if new possessions are deemed necessary by life’s constant changes, then there is peace in the knowledge and acceptance that God will provide, and then not fretting about it. Again, more simply, it is a peace that one can make do with what is at hand, or that God will offer an alternative. It’s this kind of joy that makes James 1:2 truly possible:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,”
James recognized that people in general learn from not only their mistakes but also from the trials they endure. As we learn, we grow. So, James says to be glad when you encounter these testing moments, for even in failure, you win because as you trust in the Lord through these trials, you will grow stronger in Him. It brings you closer to a true sense of joy and peace. Momentary gladness is not true joy. True joy is the presence of the Holy Spirit in your being that brings about the fruit of the Spirit in your life. Romans 15:13 says,
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Finding complete joy is one of the great secrets of life. Only through seeking Christ can this be accomplished.
With the analogy of the artist chipping away at the marble block, and the realization that once a chip is chopped off, how can we ever be restored? The given fact that the chip can never be returned to the carving block is not true for believers and is documented in the scriptures. God can restore joy in our lives, long after it has been carved away. Sure, a man can superglue the piece back into place, but the crack of imperfection remains, and many times the piece will fall off again later. God alone is the master artist. Only He can fully undo what has been done, perfectly and permanently. Only He can restore the chipped-off pieces in your life with absolutely no cracks or scars, making new what is old or damaged. Paul presents this in 1st Corinthians 5:17,
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ,
he is a new creature;
the old things passed away;
behold, new things have come.”
Through this spiritual renewal in Christ Jesus, we live each and every day with hope, which generates peace, which generates joy. May the Master Artist continue to bless you as He carves you into His perfect sculpture!
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