I once watched a television programme about the restoration of old paintings. One of the art experts on the program explained how an old painting has to be carefully and painstakingly cleaned, and how years of dirt are removed, layer by layer. He also described how, as some old paintings have been cleaned, the restorers have discovered that the painting on the surface of the canvas is actually covering and hiding a completely different original and precious work of art painted by a famous artist.
By skilfully removing the layers of paint of the second image, the original masterpiece can be revealed in all its beauty. That description of the uncovering of a masterpiece has always spoken to me of the way that God works in the lives of us, His children. By his Holy Spirit, He wants to remove the layers of sin, wounds and wrong beliefs that have accumulated in our lives, sometimes even from the very moment of our conception, to reveal the beautiful masterpiece that we are, as His redeemed children.
I felt the Lord gave me a similar picture once when I saw a television news report showing the joy of rescuers when they were able to bring people, who had been trapped under fallen buildings in earthquakes, out alive from the rubble. In the same way, many people’s true identities have been buried and crushed under the weight of life’s traumas and injustice. But there’s a rescuer who can bring such lives out from under the ruins and give them new hope – His name is Jesus. Being involved in prayer ministry, I’ve had the privilege on many occasions of seeing something of a person’s true identity beginning to emerge as they receive the touch of our Master Restorer.
I love our verse for today, that in our frail, often cracked and imperfect lives, we have a treasure, Jesus Himself, living within us by His Holy Spirit. He’s changing us to become like Him, but also to become the unique original masterpieces that He’s always seen us to be.
In Matthew 13:44 we read Jesus’ parable of the man who discovers a treasure in a field and sells all he has to buy the field and obtain that treasure. That parable can rightly be understood as meaning we have to surrender everything we have to gain the treasure of knowing Jesus in our lives. Perhaps we also need to stand in wonder that, while we were still sinners, Jesus, the Son of God, laid aside His majesty to die on the cross, that we might be redeemed from the enemy to become His treasured possession.
You may never have felt truly treasured in your life, but to God your value is beyond measure, and He wants you to know that in the very depths of your heart.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I can scarcely take it in that You saw me as a treasure worth suffering and dying for. What can I do in response but offer myself to You in worship, for You to be the One I treasure above all others. I worship You, Lord. Amen.
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