[He] has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. (2 Tim. 1:9)

I TOOK AN OIL-PAINTING CLASS in college, and the first assignment was to take an empty canvas and, without any predetermined picture in mind, begin to put different colors on the canvas in random strokes until some inspiration took over that led to the creation of a masterpiece. I am glad my final grade was not based on the result of that assignment. The process was pure agony and the resulting mess was trashed. I do better when there is a predetermined purpose—a design in mind—before the work is begun. It is better to begin with the end in mind.

God began His work in us with the end in mind. Everything He has done for us is so He can do something special in us. It would have been easier if He could work with an empty canvas, but His original plan was damaged by the fall and our personal sin. He first must clean off the canvas so He can do something new and beautiful. He changes what He can and incorporates some of the scars so they fit into His new creation. We may not be masterpieces yet, but He has something special in mind for us. He has called us to a holy life. We only need to hold up the life of Jesus alongside our own to see how near completion we are.

God didn’t save us just so we could be happy, prosperous, and crisis free. He saved us so He could make us special—set apart, holy.

Pray God will help you yield the brush to His masterful control.

Ken Heer has been a pastor and church leader for fifty-one years and lives in Florida with his wife Nancy. They have three children and nine grandchildren.