Someone who writes prose has the luxury of multiple pages and numerous sentences to make the words sing and move us, but a poet must extract the maximum impact out of every carefully chosen word. In prose, the writer could get away with a few superfluous words, but with poetry, one wrong word can spoil the whole piece. In prose, but even more importantly in poetry, the right words used in the right place at the right time have the power to move a reader in unexpected ways.
The Bible says, “For we are his workmanship” (Ephesians 2:10, KJV). It was a revelation to me to discover that the word workmanship comes from the Greek word poiema, from which we get the English word poem.
We are God’s poem! And knowing that God speaks of us as His poem, I get a picture of Him agonising over every word. We are not simply a few thoughts thrown together quickly, because He has a clear picture of all that we are meant to be and what He wants to say through us.
We are significant because God brought us into existence and made us in His own image (Genesis 1:27). We are all unique individuals. In this fallen world, our lives rarely turn out as we expect them to, but through Jesus we are able to find our purpose, because He knows who we are meant to be.
The good news is that it’s actually easy to become the person God planned for you to be and to find your purpose. All it takes is belief and repentance. John 1:12 says, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (KJV).
God is the Creator and He has brought us into existence for a purpose. Ephesians 2:10 says that we, God’s handiwork, were “created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
God is transforming us—word by word—to become His perfect poem (workmanship). He “wrote” us even before the foundation of the world. Only God can show us who we truly are and only He can bring our lives into alignment with the words that He has already written about us.
Adjusting Our Lives
Paul speaks of this alignment in Philippians 2:12, 13, when he says that we are to “continue to work out [our] salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in [us] to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” God will work in us to bring about an alignment between who we are and the way we are to live.
We all know how uncomfortable it is to ride in a car when the wheels are out of alignment. We can live with the problem and adapt—which is unsafe—or we can get it fixed and enjoy a safer, more pleasurable drive.
God is working in us, but He requires our efforts, our cooperation and our trust. His adjustments to our lives may sometimes be uncomfortable and decidedly inconvenient, but He will lovingly move us toward our best future when we trust Him.
Notice also that Paul linked fear and trembling with this process. He understood firsthand that resisting the work of God also has its consequences. It’s the main reason why there’s so much pain and sorrow in the world today.
In God’s Image
The Bible says that God created us in His image (Genesis 1:26, 27). This means that in some important ways we are like God. Following are a few of those ways:
- God is intelligent, and so are we. We have the ability to take in information and process it. We can examine evidence and draw reasonable conclusions.
- God is an emotional Being, and so are we. We can have feelings that cause us to laugh and weep, to feel both pleasure and pain.
- God is a moral Being, and so are we. That’s why most people have an intuitive sense that inflicting harm on others is wrong.
- God is a spiritual Being, and so are we. We want our lives to have meaning and purpose, and we recognise the importance of love, patience, tolerance, forgiveness and a concern for others.
- God has a free will, and so do we. We can choose where to live, whom we will marry, what job we will take, for example.
- God can create, and so can we. We can paint beautiful art and compose beautiful music. God even gave us the ability to bring new human beings into the world!
Fallen, Not Forgotten
Jesus came to reconcile and restore a world that knows only estrangement and suffering. By entering the world and overcoming evil with good, Jesus brought hope into the darkness and showed us that He is a God of love—a love that sacrifices everything for another.
No matter how insignificant we may feel in this world, thanks to Jesus, we each have a place, a purpose and a significance that no-one else can fill. So the next time you decide to write some prose, or a poem, and you struggle with getting the words right, spare a thought for God and all the effort He puts into the poem He calls “you.”
Let Him do His work in you so you can become the living poem He wrote you to be.