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He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 1 Corinthians 1:8 (New Living Translation)

I’m not an artist at all. Not an artistic bone in my body. I’m not even good at doing paint by number projects! But, in spite of my inadequacy in the performance aspect of art, I’m an admirer of the talents other people have.

Those who do chalk art, or pencil art particularly amaze me. They start with a piece of paper (or canvas) and begin making a few strokes here and a few strokes there. Nothing seems to be coming together. I can’t make out a shape or any semblance of order to their work. Then, almost like magic a few more strokes and you see the scene develop. Simply amazing.

I have no idea what the ‘trick’ is to making drawings like that. My stick figures are even pretty indistinguishable to be honest. But I have learned one thing about watching such demonstrations. While standing off to the side and watching it’s important to wait until the picture is done before judging the quality of the work.

The same is true in our lives here on earth. We are the drawing pad for the master creator. His goal is to make a masterpiece and we are the subject. Could he, in all his power and wisdom, snap his fingers and make us a complete work of art? Perhaps. But he doesn’t choose to do it that way. Jesus prefers to take his time in making us the perfect masterpiece he’s envisioned.

The downside to this is that from the day of our birth until the day of our death we are a work in progress. That’s where we run into trouble. We expect perfection in our first steps and if we don’t expect perfection there will certainly be others around us expecting us to be perfect. We struggle to get things right. We get discouraged when things go wrong. We let the opinions of others dictate who we are.

Take another look at today’s verse. Whose strength do we rely on? Religion? Physical stamina? Financial resources? Nope. Jesus. It’s all about him. Now take another look. When will perfection come? To be blunt, when we’re dead. Does that mean I don’t even try to be perfect? Of course not. What it does mean is that if I decide to rely on me I’ll only run into frustration. Relying on Jesus is the only sure way to success.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. I’ve been struggling under this load of frustration and guilt and sin long enough. No more trying in my own power. From this day forward I’m asking you to empower me with your Spirit so that I can allow you to keep me pure until the day you come for me. In your name, Amen.

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