I’ve been re-reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy epic, The Lord of the Rings. There are few writers of his genre that are as adept and imaginative in developing not only characters, but cultures and histories and tense drama. The sheer art of his writing is compelling enough reason to read the stories perpetually. Turn a page and you never know whether you’ll find a strange tongue or an epic tale or a cultural cue or a song or . . . a poem. Sometimes it is a combination of all of those things wrapped into one.
Open the pages of Scripture. Page 1. Genesis 1:1. “In the beginning . . .” Hands trembling with excitement, ears of the inner man attuned to the meter and cadence and meaning of the written Word. God’s story begins. Page after page, story after story: histories, cultures, God’s interaction with idolatrous and selfish man. Powerful drama. Powerful narrative. Read long enough and far enough into this vast epic of rebirth and reconciliation and you will come to a little letter written to a group of young churches in Asia.
Part way into the letter, Paul breaks into a poem–but not one that you would expect. His poem is composed of one word. “For we are his [God’s] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10. This word, workmanship, is ποιημα (poiema), or “poem“. It really means “creative work”, “piece of art”, “hand -crafted work”, or “masterpiece”.
Here, right in the middle of God’s story is his poem–you.
Have you ever considered yourself to be God’s magnum opus, his great work? That is what you are! Immediately before this verse we are reminded that God himself saved us by his own grace. He has and continues to shape and mold us to walk in those works that he specially crafted for each of us beforehand.
Frustrated with failure? Feeling like giving up? Ask God to show you how his hand has crafted the works that you were made to walk in. Already know what those works are and are just not doing them? Get up off your backside and get moving! Now is the best time to step out in faith and shake the gates of hell! Walk in the works He prepared for you!
You are God’s artfully crafted poem, planted right in the middle of his epic story. Embrace your identity and walk in it!