Art and Soul- Week 1: Making our lives our greatest works of art.
The end goal of this series is not that you would all create art, but rather that you would live your life as a work of art. Allowing God to create his masterpiece through you. Being a living sacrifice can become a living masterpiece in the hands of God.
Ephesians 2:10- For we are God’s masterpiece (Handiwork, Craftsmanship). He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Romans 8:28- 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.
You may be saying that is all good and fine, but you don’t know my life, my struggles, my mistakes, my frustrations and challenges. That may be true, but I do believe that these things are common to us all regardless of culture, socio-economic status, work or life stage.
1 Corinthians 10:13- “No temptation (trial, test) has overtaken you that is not faced by others. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it.”
God’s Creative Process of forming us into his masterpiece- The example of Joseph. 4 Lessons about living a life of masterpiece from a rejected, orphaned, enslaved, jailbird, Prince.
Living a life of Masterpiece takes Grace
Receiving Grace from God- Learning to receive and interpret the common graces of Dream, Destiny and Divine Symbols:
Genesis 37:3-8 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate[a] robe for him. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him. 5 Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. 6 He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: 7 We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.” 8 His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.
Living a life of Masterpiece takes Rejection
Genesis 37- 19 “Here comes that dreamer!” they said to each other. 20 “Come now, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns and say that a ferocious animal devoured him. Then we’ll see what comes of his dreams.”
23 So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the ornate robe he was wearing— 24 and they took him and threw him into the cistern. The cistern was empty; there was no water in it.
31 Then they got Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. 32 They took the ornate robe back to their father and said, “We found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son’s robe.” 33 He recognized it and said, “It is my son’s robe! Some ferocious animal has devoured him. Joseph has surely been torn to pieces.”
Rejection by Community is part of the Journey- stripped of his family, his robe, and left for dead. Sold into slavery- Became a slave to Potiphar’s house. Have you ever experienced rejection by friends and family. Even those closest to you? This is a common part of the journey.
Jesus was rejected so why do we think everyone should like us and be our friend?
– Jesus family rejected him and thought he was crazy
– Jesus own people (Israel) rejected him as their messiah
– The Jewish religious establishment rejected him as a Rabbi
– Many of his followers left him after difficult teachings
– 2 of the 12 rejected him. One being in his inner 3 Peter rejected him but later repented, one did not.
Living a Life of Masterpiece takes Perseverance
3 steps forward + 2 steps back = Progress: Sometimes we can begin to think, life is so unfair. No one else has to go through this process of 3 steps forward, 2 steps back. Let me assure you, we all do!
Joseph experienced great success and became the overseer and administrator, the steward of everything Potiphar owned. But Potiphar’s wife tries to sleep with Joseph, Joseph refuses and Potiphar’s wife gets angry and tells her husband that he tried to rape her. Joseph I thrown into prison and the prison warden ends up making Joseph the overseer of everything that happened in the prison. Cup bearer and chief baker are thrown into prison and have dreams and Joseph interprets them. The cup bearer is restored to his position but forgets about Joseph. 3 steps forward 2 steps back.
“2 full years later” Pharaoh has a dream and the cup-bearer remembers Joseph and tells Pharaoh about him. Joseph interprets Pharaohs dream and Pharaoh puts Joseph as second in command over all of Egypt. He is put in charge of preparing for the coming 7 years of feast and 7 years of famine. He was 30 years old.
Genesis 41:37-44– 37Joseph’s suggestions were well received by Pharaoh and his officials. 38So Pharaoh asked his officials, “Can we find anyone else like this man so obviously filled with the spirit of God?” 39Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has revealed the meaning of the dreams to you, clearly no one else is as intelligent or wise as you are. 40You will be in charge of my court, and all my people will take orders from you. Only I, sitting on my throne, will have a rank higher than yours.” 41Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the entire land of Egypt.” 42Then Pharaoh removed his signet ring from his hand and placed it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in fine linen clothing and hung a gold chain around his neck. 43Then he had Joseph ride in the chariot reserved for his second-in-command. And wherever Joseph went, the command was shouted, “Kneel down!” So Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of all Egypt. 44And Pharaoh said to him, “I am Pharaoh, but no one will lift a hand or foot in the entire land of Egypt without your approval.”
Living a Life of Masterpiece takes Courage
An Uncommon courage with a unique blend of- fear, faith, compassion, forgiveness and surrender.
Embracing Courageous Moments of Masterpiece- At age 39 Joseph had his moment of masterpiece. It was a fulfillment of all the broken pieces and places he had been and experienced. It was a moment of destiny of beauty and of masterpiece.
These moments of masterpiece speak to our deepest longings, our greatest fears, our biggest insecurities and our hidden dreams. Josephs moment of masterpiece was a combination of success, and fulfillment taking place amidst community, in concert with family and friends.
Genesis 45:1-8- 1Joseph could stand it no longer. There were many people in the room, and he said to his attendants, “Out, all of you!” So he was alone with his brothers when he told them who he was. 2Then he broke down and wept. He wept so loudly the Egyptians could hear him, and word of it quickly carried to Pharaoh’s palace. 3“I am Joseph!” he said to his brothers. “Is my father still alive?” But his brothers were speechless! They were stunned to realize that Joseph was standing there in front of them. 4“Please, come closer,” he said to them. So they came closer. And he said again, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. 5But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. 6This famine that has ravaged the land for two years will last five more years, and there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. 7God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors.a 8So it was God who sent me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an adviser b to Pharaoh—the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt.
1- What are the past moments of masterpiece you felt you have missed?- Missed moments create a greater appreciation for current and future moments. It empowers you to make the most of the next moment. There is a greater moment around the corner that will come by his grace, not your works or ability. Stay encouraged, and stay hopeful for something better, otherwise you may miss even more.
2- What are the moments of masterpiece you are in?- Is there a moment you need to step into. A moment in destiny your soul longs to embrace, express and embody. You are hesitant, fearful and maybe even unsure. The moment may leave soon, it does not linger to long, it may be delegated to another ready to create, you must embrace the inspiration and move with the creative breathe of heaven (if that is what it is, even if it is not, you will learn discernment)
I have had times that I have had vision, inspiration and felt convinced of a direction that did not work out, that ended in failure, and frustration. This is all a part of the process, remember 3 steps, 2 steps, still equals progress. 3steps forward, 4 steps back + 6 steps forward, 4 steps back = progress
3- What are the moments of masterpiece you long for?- What is the unlived life within you. The things that have been taken from you. The robe given to you that represented your destiny that was ripped from you? What micro-symbols have been ripped, stolen and destroyed in your life? This is the very material that God’s masterpiece is created from. Don’t loose hope, there is something much greater!
God creates his masterpiece amidst brokenness, lostness, disappointment and destruction. What are the micro-symbols of his macro-piece. From the materials of your biggest devastations he creates our lives greatest destiny’s. None is lost on him.
When art is both universal and intimate, it becomes transcendent. We find ourselves in the masterpiece. It tells our story and reveals our hidden selves. The masterpiece both exposes us and inspires us . It is both authentic and idealistic. It touches both our pain and our hope. Artists do not paint simply for themselves. Art is stewardship of the human story and the great quest to come. It only finds its meaning when it resonates with, reveals, and re-creates the soul. The masterpiece that is life is the beautiful culmination of years of faithfulness, determination, and courage. That’s how masterpieces are forged. McManus, Erwin Raphael (2014-02-25). The Artisan Soul: Crafting Your Life into a Work of Art (pp. 185-186). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
CONCLUSION- Our life as a living masterpiece starts with linking our soul with the Master Creative.
Through his sacrifice, he turned the cross, that barbaric instrument of death, public torture and execution, into a symbol of beauty and hope. A crown of thorns, the torture of flogging, mockery into an expression of the purest love humanity has ever known.