Today I am preparing for a masterpiece – I am priming canvas! But priming takes time and so does preparation for Gods purposes.
And after yesterday’s initial priming I just want to paint. However, the surface is rough, the canvas is showing through in places and the white is just not white enough.
When I was an art student we had lectures on colour. In one lecture, a slide was projected onto a screen and we were all asked what colour it was. We all agreed it was white. Then slide after slide of ‘white’ was shown, each one whiter than the previous one. Eventually the first slide was shown and again and we were asked what colour it was. We all replied, ‘Yellow’!
Oh how easy it is to be deceived into thinking we are something we are not! We might think we are ready but further down the line, looking back we will see just how raw we were.
Preparing for a masterpiece – Priming
So I put myself into this process. I even paint the edges – the bits nobody but me will see. This is important. I am after all preparing for a masterpiece! You could say I’m throwing love into it; this canvas is becoming precious to me – it’s beautiful, and I am getting excited about what I am to paint on it. The truth is that the whiter and purer my canvas is, the more my work will reflect the light. And as many of you will know, I love to paint about light. I want to glorify God with my work and for it to in some way reflect Him.
Preparation for God’s purposes
Recently I saw a master weaver running his hand across yards of fabric he’d just woven. He was feeling for imperfections. This is what I do with my canvases, because anything not dealt with at the primary stage, will be detrimental to the finished work. What a beautiful picture this is of us and God. We are His handy work. God likewise knows us, feels our imperfections, and if we are to glorify Him, these flaws have to be dealt with.
‘For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.’
Removing the flaws
Sometimes I have to take harsh sandpaper to the canvas to work away those flaws! When I looked into the use of sandpaper I read, ‘The benefits of using sandpaper enable our projects to achieve a smooth finish.’ So maybe we should be like King David the Psalmist who had such a desire to be purified and holy. He underwent many a harsh experience to get there.
‘Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.’
Another reason for priming is to prevent impurities from the wood seeping through later and spoiling the finished work. This can take years to come to pass but how sad it would be to see a beautiful work spoilt further down the line by some hidden stain. As Christians we do not want our ‘old nature’ or character flaws spoiling something beautiful that God might want to do through or with us. No, we want to be His masterpiece!
Romping through the Bible
I’ve recently been romping my way through the Bible in 90 days. My daughter asked me to do it with her! It was a big ask, but because of the rapid pace we had a sense of the whole story.
I was blown away by the Holiness of God described in Leviticus. What God wants and what He simply will not allow is laid out in meticulous detail. He is Holy and much is put into place to maintain Holiness. Man cannot achieve this standard alone. As the story unfolds we see that God was protecting the people from Holiness:
‘When the priests return to the outer courtyard where the people are, they must take off the clothes they wear while ministering to me. They must leave them in the sacred rooms and put on other clothes so they do not endanger anyone by transmitting holiness to them through this clothing.’ Ezekiel 44:9
I was puzzled because we are called to be Holy. ‘For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”’ 1 Peter 1:16 I put this to my daughter and she simply said, ‘But mum, we have the cross.’ Of course! The cross of Christ makes sense of it all. In fact as we read on we became impatient for the cross because we noticed that the sin and failures of the people were grieving God’s heart. We saw just how much He needed to send His son – Jesus.
In the Old Testament, only the high Priest was allowed to enter the most holy place. And that was after he had been made ritually clean. It was just not safe for the ordinary people to enter! But now, because of Jesus, we can boldly come right before Gods throne and enter in. We are holy by His ultimate sacrifice for our sins. Our sin now being covered, it is safe to ’take on’ His holiness. (Further reading)
Coming back to my task of preparing for a masterpiece. Whenever I prime canvases the primer gets everywhere – it just about ’contaminates’ everything I touch as I always seem to get it all over myself! My daughter went on to say, ‘How wonderful would it be if God’s glory and Holiness got all over us to the extent that everywhere we went and everything we touched spread His glory about, and in turn brought glory back to Him?’ Now I’m up for that, are you?