The Paint Box

“For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.”

1 Thessalonians 4:7, NIV

Paint_Box-2I tore into the plain, brown paper wrapping and squealed with delight. A box filled with fresh, watercolor paints just begged to be placed in the hands of a young artist. Quickly, I found some paper and immersed myself in my creation.

I loved to spend time at my father’s art studio where there was always an abundant supply of paper, pencils, paints, and paternal praise―everything a young Rembrandt would need. It was only natural for me to follow in my father’s footsteps.

Once in fourth-grade art class, our assignment was to copy a picture of a bird on a flowered tree limb. I set about my work with resolve, only this time I was unable to measure up to the high standard I laid out for myself. Thus, I resorted to plagiarism. I discreetly laid my paper on top of the pattern and traced the image with meticulous strokes. Later, as my teacher held up each work before the class, he politely asked me if I had traced mine. Of course I answered, “No.”  In my naivety, I believed I had fooled him.

Today, there are still times when I am unwilling to invest the effort required to achieve the optimal result. My desire for immediate results applies not only to my life’s artistic expression but its spiritual expression as well. My impatience produces halfhearted efforts and a sprint to a premature finish.

Developing artistic skill takes a lifetime of dedicated study and hard work. The same is true of maturing in Christ and living out his purpose. Fulfilling God’s vision requires prayerful time in his presence, intensive study, obedience to his Word, and an earnest resolve to follow the leading of his Holy Spirit. Our approach must be intentional. There are no shortcuts, no patterns to trace―simply his footsteps to follow.

I still have my childhood paint box. The wells once filled with fresh, vibrant, and varied colors now all contain the same dull shade of dirty brown. The result, I am sure, of a young child artist in such a hurry to paint her masterpiece that she didn’t take the time to rinse out her brush.

More than a generation later, I wonder, “Am I still impatiently tracing an image other than my own, or am I willing to follow the unique pattern my Father has marked out for me?”

Spend time with your Father today. Then, go and paint a Masterpiece!

Happy painting,


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