Analogies are great, they are very helpful in understanding the meaning of something. You use a comparison to show the true meaning of the point you are trying to get across.
I came across a couple of analogies in my Book of Mysteries by Jonathan Cahn that stay with me for a very long time. I think when that happens, that it stays with you so long, it is because for that precise moment in time, you need to dwell and concentrate on that truth.
The one that I LOVE (well okay, one of many I love), is this one and perhaps I have shared it with some of you, but it is well worth repeating and I am paraphrasing it here:
There was a student who was led to a room with an artist’s easel and a blank canvas. A row of paints and brushes was set up beside it. On the other side was a copy of a classic Masterpiece – a treasured work of art. The student was told that he had 3 hours to replicate the masterpiece.
As the teacher was walking out the door the student was heard to yell, “But I don’t know how to paint.” The door closed silently, and the student was left alone.
After the 3 hours the door opened and in walked the teacher, he stood before the canvas of the student. The canvas was no longer blank, it had a picture painted on it, that looked more like elementary school age student might have made. The teacher did not laugh, was totally somber and instructed the student that he had just learned the lesson.
The student was baffled beyond measure at just what the lesson was.
The teacher said: “You were trying to reproduce the work of a master. Most of those in the kingdom (of God) do the same thing. They try to reproduce the righteousness of God. They know what is right and good and holy. They try to live it. But the way they go about achieving that goal is wrong. They are doing what you just did, trying by their own abilities to reproduce the work of the Master. And to do that is to compete with God. And if you could do that, you wouldn’t need God. Only God can do the works of God. And a holy life is the work of God.
If instead of trying to copy the work, you were given the artists’ heart and his mind, his skills
and his spirit. Then it wouldn’t be a struggle, nor would it be a copy. It would be as if the master Himself was painting through you. Therein lies the key.” (day 255 in The Book of Mysteries)
Those of us with the Holy Spirit indwelling inside of us, have this imperative key. As I observe my life and the fact that I get shocked reading this analogy each time I do, I would say, that it is also something that I forget very easily.
Could it be as a human, I tend to wander back to my old ways more often than I care to admit? I become proud thinking I can do it myself. I do not even consider asking God to help because I am very capable. But if you notice in the analogy from the Book of Mysteries capabilities and talents are not listed as the key. We are capable in many areas but to use them to try to imitate God, is not the key.
The key is that God has given us every gift we need to do the work He has given us to do down here on earth. 2 Peter 1:3
We each have choices. What if I do not want to do the work that God has for me or perhaps I think I know better what that work should be, like try to help God, or maybe the work I want to do is more what I think I would like to do, more to my personality, says me.
The Bible says we have been given every gift we need to do the work God has called us to do, and that is another key, the work God has called us to do, not the work I necessarily “want” to do. The Bible says, it was to continue God’s work on earth, we, you and I are now His hands and feet.
Did you ever wonder why sometimes you try so hard to do something for God and it falls flat of what you thought. It was a good project, perhaps it was a great teaching, it helped people, and it was according to scripture. Did God ask you to do it? This is the first question to ask yourself.
But they were good things! Helpful things, I was capable of doing those things! Did that project produce fruit? Second question to ask yourself. Fruit is the way you can tell if God is in it, because God only produces good fruit. If your answer is No… then it was not a God project, it was a you project. I, unfortunately have had many of those!
The disciples of Jesus were a lot like us, probably because they are just like us, ordinary guys that Jesus picked. Most of them while they lived, worked and were with Jesus for 3 years, did not really understand the work or the how to do it any better than us. At the beginning, they assumed it was because of their capabilities, nope. Then they tried to copy the master, Jesus, in their own strength, it took effort and honestly was not all that successful. They kept at it but got discouraged.
It took a couple of miracles, not the first miracle they had seen by a long shot – they had seen many. But it took one in particular to shake them enough to start changing from copying the master to letting the master live through them.
The first was the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus came back from the dead and spent over 40 days with them. They went from scared, timid little men who ran away to staying together and trying to figure out life.
Then the second was called Pentecost. It was when the Holy Spirit also described as “spiritual fire” came and fell upon them. It was the miracle of the Holy Spirit that came and began to dwell inside of people and people were changed from the inside out, instantly. They started doing things that they could never do before – miraculously. They were given the masters heart, mind, thoughts, words and the masters love; now the master was able to work through them.
These 2 events created a force of people who then went out to change the entire world. Nothing phased them, not even death. They never had to “try to copy” the work of the master because they were now empowered, with the power of the Master and they now lived it.
So why do I often fail to remember this and think I have to be good enough or that I am not good enough when it is not at all about my capabilities?
The coolest thing about this is that while the master is moving through us as His hands and feet, we are the clay, He is the potter, the ultimate designer. As He molds and shapes us, enabling us with the ability to grow, bloom and produce fruit in abundance, we too become a masterpiece.
Our job is to be willing to be used, to allow God to paint His masterpiece through us and in the end, you too are one of His finest pieces of His workmanship! A masterpiece in your own right!