There is something incredible about watching a creative person work. I was walking in downtown Madison, WI and passed a crowd of people. I was curious, so I stopped to see what everyone was interested in. There was a man spray painting on a canvas. The crowd was interested because he was creating something beautiful in front of them — an entire creative process happening from the start to finish in a matter of minutes. From the white canvas, suddenly a picture emerged and something that previously did not exist was now real.
Artists will often talk about the emotional attachment they feel to certain projects or pieces of artwork. The artist is represented in a unique way in each song, poem, or painting. Every work is a reflection of the creator in a special way.
The Book of Genesis begins the story of salvation with a creation poem. This poem explores God as a master artist, creating out of nothing. Where there once was chaos there is order, light and darkness, land and sea (Genesis 1:1-11). It speaks an incredible truth to us — all that God creates is a reflection of God. It points back to Him.
Look outside your window. Take note of the various aspects of nature you see. They reflect God in a powerful way. God made them and they reveal to us who God is. A beautiful sunset or the sky full of stars proclaim God’s beauty and infinity.
But in Genesis, something else happens. God creates the heavens and earth, but then He creates people. He creates a man and a woman and these two reflect God in a unique way. They are made in God’s very image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-27). If you spent time looking out a window at God’s creation, it is time to take that next step. Go to a mirror or grab your phone and turn on the front facing camera. Look at yourself. What is your reaction? What do you see?
You were made in the image of eternity.
You reveal something unique about God. When God formed you, He placed a special calling on your life and gave you gifts and talents that tell the world something about who God is (Jeremiah 1:5).
But too often we don’t see ourselves that way. We don’t see ourselves as something beautiful, as a divine masterpiece from the Master Artist. We find the flaws in the work. WE say that it isn’t good enough.
Can you imagine looking at Rembrandt or Michelangelo and discussing one of their masterpieces by pointing out all of the flaws you saw? Would you stand before that artist and his greatest work and say, “Well, you probably could’ve done better.”
People see the works of these great artists and stand in awe and wonder. They don’t talk about the flaws – sometimes they are so awestruck by the beauty of the creation that they can’t speak at all. What is so different about us?
When God looks at you He sees a masterwork. Our vision often gets distorted, though, because rather than seeing things with God’s eyes we see them with our own eyes or, worse, the eyes of the world in which we live. We apply modern standards of beauty, worth, and dignity to ourselves, and either deem ourselves acceptable or unacceptable.
The standards of the world change, but we aren’t created to fit those standards. We are created for more. We can only understand that “more” though, if we are entering into the heart of God. When we understand why we were made and for whom we were made, our reflection starts to make more sense. We stop seeing the flaws and start seeing the beauty.
We are made for communion with God. When God created you – this new, incredible thing – He created you for Himself. He didn’t make you like an artist makes a painting to sell. God wants your heart and so God created you with a sort of signature, leaving thumbprints on us the way a potter leaves his fingerprints on the clay. We find this divine “fingerprint” in a desire – a desire to worship.
We recognize that we are finite, limited beings. We also recognize that there is something more; we fell a sort of ache that tells us, “There must be more than this.” Since we were designed by God for communion with God, this ache is meant to drive us back into His arms. We were created to worship. This is the only proper way to express our relationship with the creator. We stand in awe of the God who made us and gave us the dignity to bear His image. Every ache and human longing can be traced back to this desire and need to worship something greater than we are. And when we enter into that worship, we find ourselves. We encounter God’s heart and give our heart. God wants all of us – He sees us as His own because that is what we are and He doesn’t want to split time or give us up.
He sees more in us than we sometimes see in ourselves.
This view that God takes of us takes on an attribute we may be uncomfortable with but is spoken about frequently in Sacred Scripture – God’s jealous heart. As we break that open in the coming days, we need to first being with our reflection in the mirror. God desires you so much and wants your worship that He becomes jealous. You evoke something deep within the heart of God. You are a masterwork. God believes that – do you?
Responding to God’s Heart: Where have you experienced an “ache” for something more in life?
** this is an excerpt from Life Teen’s 28-day personal retreat titled “Heart of God.” If you like this and want to continue to read more check it out at lifeteen.com.