Episode 1. So What’s the Plan?
So many people in this world have lost sight of who they truly are. They go looking for and identity in all different places, but there’s only one identity that’s our true identity. And there’s only one identity that’ll give us the life God always planned for us.
Join Berni, as he takes a look at our self image – from a different perspective.
I’m not sure if you remember back to last week on the program but we were chatting about how valuable you and I are in God’s sight. I remember once I was working so hard for God, striving so hard, things weren’t going well and so, being who I am, I decided that the answer was to pedal harder and faster.
Then I was at a men’s gathering and a guy who didn’t know me from a bar of soap walked up to me and said something along these lines, he said, ‘Look, I know this may sound just a bit weird or maybe a bit trite but I really believe that God wants you to know how pleased He is with you, how delighted He is with you, how much you mean to Him. I really believe God wanted me to tell you that today.’
Can I tell you? That was just the release that I needed. The answer wasn’t to work harder or longer, I was already working like an idiot. The answer was to pause for a while and rest in God and so that’s something I do almost every morning now, in the cool of the morning, while the rest of the world is pretty much still asleep, I sit in a comfy chair and open my Bible and rest with God.
And it’s in that place that we discover how incredibly valuable we are to Him because unlike any other creature on this earth we have been created in His image, in the image of God we’ve been created, male and female He’s created us and when, when God created someone in His image, just stop and think about this, He’s going to move heaven and earth for us to set right the things in our lives that have gone off the tracks. When you look at it that way doesn’t it make sense?
I mean imagine, just imagine that you’re a gifted artisan. I’m not by the way, I can’t draw for nuts, I can’t sculpt, I can’t nail two bits of wood together so it’s a stretch for me to imagine that but nevertheless let’s just imagine, you and I, that we’re gifted with our hands in that way. And years ago you created this amazing violin.
You sold it to someone, someone bought it and for years you haven’t seen it and then one day you’re at a second hand auction and to your complete and utter surprise that violin comes up for auction. To everyone else it’s just a dusty old violin but to you, well you made it, you recognise it instantly beneath the layers of dirt and dust. What would you do at that auction?
It was battered and scarred
and the auctioneer thought
it was scarcely worth his while
to waste much time on that old violin
but he held it up with a smile.
‘What am I bidding good folks’, he cried,
‘who’ll start the bidding for me?
A dollar, a dollar then two only two,
two dollars and who’ll make it three?’
‘Three dollars once, three dollars twice,
going for three’. But no,
from the room far back a grey haired old man
came forward and picked up the bow.
And wiping the dust from the old violin
and tightening the loosened strings
he played a melody pure and sweet
as a carolling angel sings.
The music ceased and the auctioneer
with a voice that was quiet and low
said, ‘What am I bid for the old violin?’
And he held it up with the bow.
‘A thousand dollars and who’ll make it two,
two thousand, who’ll make it three?
Three thousand once, three thousand twice
and going and gone.’ Said he.
The people cheered
but some of them cried,
‘We don’t quite understand.
What changed its worth?’
Swift came the reply,
‘The touch of a master’s hand.’
And many a man with a life out of tune
and battered and scarred with sin,
he’s auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd
much like the old violin.
A mess of pottage,
a glass of wine and a game he travels on.
He’s going once, going twice,
he’s going and almost gone.
But the Master comes
and the foolish crowd
never can quite understand
the worth of a soul and the change that is wrought
by the touch of the Master’s hand.”
It’s a beautiful old poem that, ‘The Touch of the Masters Hand’ by Myra Brooks Welch. And doesn’t it tell the story of what God wants to do in your life and my life. In our own eyes often we feel worthless, in the worlds eyes often we look worthless and yet under the years of neglect God sees the beauty and the wonder of the original creation in us, made as we are in His image.
And so when God touches our lives again, when He gets involved again it’s as though, it’s as though we become a completely new creation. Not new at all, it’s more of a case of back to the future, it’s more of a case of rediscovering what was always there, the potential, the artistry, the incredible wonder of who God made us to be beneath the marred, scarred layers of sin because underneath that we are made in the image of God. And that music of who we are is only released, that new creation is only reborn when we’re touched by the Masters hand.
Now let me make something quite clear here because this is not Berni waxing lyrical, this is not about getting swept up necessarily in the emotion of that poem as beautiful and as profound as it is. This is about unlocking the truth of how God sees you and me and what God has to say about us. Here it is from His own Word, from His lips, 2 Corinthians chapter 5, verse 17:
“So if anyone is in Christ there is a new creation. Everything old has passed away, see everything has become new.”
I remember someone once saying to me, ‘You’re not one of those born again Christians are you?’ And my response to them was, ‘That according to Jesus there is only one sort of Christian, that’s a born again Christian’. John chapter 3, verse 3:
“Jesus declared, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they’re born again.”
The only sort of Christian is the one who is a new creation because the moment we believe in Jesus, the old me, the old you, the old things that had a hold over us pass away. The sense of reproach, regret, the hurts of the past, the moment we believe in Jesus we are a new creation, all the old things have passed away and look, take a good hard close look, everything is new.
The moment the Master lays hold of us our lives start playing a new tune, a tune that we never thought possible, a tune that the rest of the world never thought possible, a tune that’s born out of the great value that we have when we are in the Masters hand.
The fact that in Christ I am a new creation is the truth on which my whole life rests. I look back on who I was and I look at the work in progress that’s brought me thus far to who I am now and I look forward to who I’m going to be, more and more morphed in the image of Jesus Himself and all of a sudden my weaknesses, my sin, my inadequacies, as well as my gifts and abilities and talents, they’re all of a sudden, I get in the right perspective.
I don’t have to feel guilty about the past anymore, I don’t want to forget it, I never want to go back to it, I don’t want to lose the lessons or the experience or the consequences of those mistakes again but I don’t have to carry around the burden of guilt anymore. Do you realise how many people carry around burdens from the past?
Well Jesus said we don’t have to do that. If anyone is in Christ there is a new creation, all the old muck has passed away and look everything has become new because according to God I am a new creation, I am born again, the old me died with Christ on the cross when I put my faith in Him. The new me was born again, risen again through the newness of life that the Holy Spirit has brought and is still bringing into my world.
My friend this is why they call it the Good News about Jesus and we can go on living our lives believing that the past still has a hold over us, we can go on believing that lie, living our lives believing more in our circumstances or we can make a choice here and now, today, to start believing what God says about us. We can live the rest of our lives believing the truth that we are in fact a new creation if we put our trust in Jesus.
So let me ask you, what’s it going to be?