Marred Painting

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10

In the city of London, one of the landmarks is St. Paul’s Cathedral. When that cathedral was being built, a man named Sir Thomas Thornhill was given the incredible task of painting beautiful portraiture, beautiful works of art, in the cupola of that cathedral. He built a scaffold, and he worked and worked and painted beautiful masterpieces there.

He had finished one section, and he was standing on the scaffolding admiring his own work, when he decided to take a step back so he could see the work of art better. And then he took another step back, transfixed by his own work and what he had done.

He was about to take the next step back that would have sent him falling off of that high scaffold when another man who was standing close to that ceiling, took a paintbrush, and marred Thornhill’s painting. When he did, Thornhill suddenly stopped backing up and started running to the man angrily: “Why did you mess up this thing? It was just like I wanted it to be!” 

The man replied, “I ruined the painting to save the painter.” He continued, “If I hadn’t messed up your painting, you would have taken that next step back to see it just a little better, and you would have fallen and died.”

We can be guilty of trying to paint a picture with our lives that we think will be acceptable to God. We do our best works, our best religion, our best morality, our best efforts, our best intentions, our best thoughts, our best words – our best, and in self-righteousness, we back up and we look at what we’ve done, and we say, “I’ve done so well. God will have to be pleased with what I’ve done.”

Just as we are on the verge of taking that last step that will mean our destruction, the law of God comes to us and mars the painting, and says, “You’re not as good as you think you are.” And then Jesus comes, and He says, “Listen, it’s not a matter of what you do on the outside. It’s who you are on the inside.”

He mars the painting that He might save the painter. If you’ve never trusted Jesus as your Savior, He wants to bring you to that place of conviction to say, “Lord, I know I need to be saved.”

If you have been saved, He wants to work in your life, so that you will say, “Lord, I’m not going to place myself over Your Word and try to decide what I think is right and what I think is wrong. I’m going to place myself under your Word, and I’m simply going to submit to You.”

Have a great day and keep moving forward!