Have you ever looked at a painting and wondered what it meant? Artists strive to make insightful or sometimes shocking statements with their paintings. Each brush stroke, each color mixed on the palette is an intentional effort to create something beautiful…. something meaningful.
Our lives look a little bit like that.
Every moment of our lives we have the opportunity to create something beautiful too. Every person we talk to, every smile we give, every time we answer the phone, we make a statement for or against God’s glory.
We are fully alive in Christ
A famous quote by Saint Irenaeus reads, “The glory of God is man fully alive.”
Not surprisingly… the quote rubbed me the wrong way when I first read it. I tend to think of humanity in fallen terms, not glorious ones. The Bible tells us that we are sinful, fallen, in need of redemption. There is no one righteous on their own. Not even one.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)…”
“There is no one righteous, not even one… (Romans 3:10).”
But, is that the end of the story for humanity? Was that God’s original design? NO.
God’s design was good. He says so in Genesis 1. We were originally created to glorify Him, to reflect Him unto Himself. And it was our own sin that brought us to ruin.
Now we have a choice, a choice to remain dead in our sin or to find life in Christ.
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved (Ephesians 2:1-5).”
By God’s grace we can be made fully alive in Christ. When we are fully alive as God intended… when we live into that reality… when we live according to His design… it brings Him glory.
And every moment of our broken selves begins to work together like brushstrokes on a canvas, painting the portrait of our lives for His glory.
Our lives make a statement
This video shows 500 years of women in artwork, each one unique and each image shown only for a moment. As I watch this beautiful video of women through history, I can’t help but think of their stories… who they were… why they were portrayed in a painting. And I can’t help but think about the statement my life makes.
We care so much about what other people think about us… our friends, our family, our co-workers and classmates. But we very rarely think about the glimpses a stranger catches of us.
The person standing behind you in line, the women sitting across the room at Starbucks, the old lady walking behind you through the door… all of these people are strangers who just catch a glimpse of who we are.
Our lives can bring Him glory
Years from now, when people look at your life, do you want them to see just another pretty face frozen in time, or a life that brings glory and honor to your King.
Biographies from women like Amy Carmichael, Corrie Ten Boom and Florence Nightingale tell stories that are more than inspiring. They are convicting accounts of a life well lived…. lives that shine for Christ in the darkest of moments.
Our lives can do the same. They can say something about who we are, but better yet, our lives can say something about who He is.
Philippians 2:15 says we can shine like stars in the sky by being children of God. When we reflect who He is, it’s hard for anyone not to notice.
“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine as lights in the world as you hold forth the word of life… (Philippians 2:14-16).”
After all, you can see a star shining bright… even when you catch just a glimpse.