Masterpiece – Going Deeper


This is an addendum that further elaborates on the blog post: Masterpiece 

During the two years Michelangelo shaped his work of art, he used a variety of different tools. He used hammers and large chisels to remove large sections of stone. He used smaller chisels to work on the finer details, and he used brushes to remove debris. God does the same thing when He is shaping us into His masterpieces. I want to look at four different tools God uses in our lives:

  1. WORSHIP –God doesn’t need us to worship Him, because God isn’t insecure, sitting around hoping we like Him. WE need to worship Him. Do you know why? Think about who you are today: your personality, your quirks, your good qualities… and even your bad ones. What are they the product of? The people you admire – your idols, and the people you spent the most time with. In the same way, we become more like God when we spend time with Him… admiring Him. In (2 Cor. 3:18), Paul wrote, So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.
  2. WORD – It is in reading God’s word that we learn what parts of the stone need to be removed, and what needs to stay in order for us to achieve the things God has planned for us.
  • We find pieces of stone that need to be removed – (Col. 3:5; 8,9) So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world…

But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. 

  • We also use God’s word to identify the characteristics that need to be accentuated in our lives – (Col. 3:12-14) Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.
  1. WORKS – (Eph. 2:10) 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. What are your dreams? Are they big? I’ll bet they are. Aren’t there BIG things you would like to do for God’s kingdom, or to help the people around you? Have you accomplished all of those dreams? Do you think the “good things God has planned for you” would be bigger or smaller than your dreams? Do you know why most of us aren’t doing the big things we had hoped to accomplish? Because we haven’t been willing to do the little things that have presented themselves first. The two greatest leaders in the entire history of the nation of Israel would likely be Moses and King David. These men had very little in common. Moses was educated in the finest schools in the world, David never attended school. Moses was 80 years old when God called him, while David was a teenager when he was anointed king. Moses was married with children, David was single. However, they had ONE thing in common. When God called them to lead, they were doing the exact same thing: tending sheep. To be more exact, each of them were tending someone else’s sheep. Moses was caring for his father-in-law’s flock while David was tending his father’s sheep. The Bible is full of stories of heroes who were plucked from obscurity to accomplish great things. The greatest enemy of reaching our destiny and accomplishing big things for God is often our unwillingness to do the little things that are right in front of us. In Luke 19, Jesus reminded us that when we are “faithful in little things, He will make us rulers of much.”
  2. WARFARE – Warfare might truly be confrontation with the enemy, or it may take the form of testing and trials, but God is still at work with his hammer and chisel… even in the hard times. In (Ps. 119:67; 71), the writer said, Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word…

71 It was good for me to be afflicted so that I could learn Your statutes.

In those times that we struggle, grieve, or feel afflicted, God is at work like a master sculptor removing little pieces of our lives that hide the beauty of His finished work. Little things like pride or self-righteousness can be those final pieces of debris that must be removed to reveal God’s finished work. That is why, in (Rom. 5:3,4), Paul said, We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.”



In 1464, a statue was commissioned for the cathedral in Florence, Italy, and a single, giant piece of marble was chosen from a quarry. Work was first begun in 1464 by a sculptor named Agostino di Duccio. Agostino only got as far as beginning to shape the legs, feet, and the torso before he gave up in frustration. Ten years later, it was taken up by Antonio Rossellino; however, very little progress was made and his contract was terminated soon thereafter.

Both sculptors had, in the end, rejected the enormous block of marble due to the presence of too many fissures and imperfections, which may have threatened the stability of such a huge statue. It seemed the rock just had too many problems and risks to ever amount to a great masterpiece. It then lay neglected for 25 years. During this time, it was exposed to the elements, standing through 25 years of sweltering sun, driving rain, wind, and even an occasional snow.

Finally, in 1501, 26-year-old Michelangelo was contracted to finish shaping the gigantic piece of marble.  He began work early on the morning of September 13, 1501. He would work on the statue for over 2 years before unveiling His 17-foot-tall masterpiece, David, which is still probably the most famous sculpture in the world.

While other artists saw a block of marble with too many imperfections to be usable, Michelangelo saw David. He said, Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”

The thing that changed a shapeless hunk of marble into a world-famous piece of art wasn’t the quality of the rock, it was the vision of the artist. The same thing is true in our lives. Ephesians 2:10 says, For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

When you look in the mirror, do you see a magnificent work of art, or do you see a shapeless block of stone, full of cracks and imperfections? Just like Michelangelo used all sorts of different tools like hammers, various chisels, and brushes to remove unwanted stone and refine other parts into perfection, God uses all sorts of different tools in our lives as he removes unwanted parts and refines and polishes other parts. He uses His word and our worship, as well as the works of our hands and even the difficulty of warfare.

There are three little-known, and rather unique techniques Michelangelo used to create his masterpiece. God often uses these same techniques in his work on each of us.

  1. Michelangelo worked in total secrecy during the years he pounded away at his sculptureGod often does much of His work in our lives while we are seemingly hidden away in total obscurity. In fact, He seems to make a habit of finding unknowns like Moses and David anonymously tending sheep and elevating them to masterpiece status.
  2. Because of the size of the statue, Michelangelo worked outside. He, and the marble, were constantly exposed to the elementsOften the greater the destiny God has planned, the harsher the elements to which we are exposed.
  3. Michelangelo used a unique technique to accomplish his vision: he created a wax model and submerged it in water. Then he would drain a little water at a time, exposing only the part of the statue on which he was workingThis is such an accurate picture of the way our lives develop. It seems we know so little of God’s plans for us in the early stages. Each day, as we look in the mirror, a few more inches of God’s work emerge. Only God knows what still lies below the water level in your life.

So, through the days of anonymity, storms, or wondering what God is up to in your life, rest assured that He is right there with you, pounding away to create His masterpiece in your life.