Last week, as one of my friends was digging around in her purse looking for a pen,
I caught a glimpse of its inner lining. It was bright and colorful, coordinating in a lovely way with the outside of her purse. While the purse was appealing in and of itself, it was the inner fabric that caught my attention.
Whether it’s the lining of a purse, coat, or other garment, it always brings me a bit of delight when I notice that the inner details have been given just as much care as the outside ones. A humdrum navy raincoat can take on an entirely new appeal because of a beautiful lining sewn into the coat and pockets.
Whenever I notice these details, it assures me that the person who designed and crafted the item took a special delight in the process of making it. The craftsman’s work shines through the intricate and often unseen elements as much as the overall work of the garment. His or her attention to detail adds value, which typically is reflected on the price tag hanging on the outside.
My momentary glance at my friend’s purse shifted to thoughts of God as the master craftsman of our souls. His work goes well beyond the outer actions of our lives. He takes care in fashioning the inner soul to create works of beauty in the lives of His people.
Just as I saw a glimpse of the inner lining of my friend’s purse, I see glimpses of the work He is doing in the lives of those around me. One friend unselfishly cares for her mother whose health is in decline. Another regularly visits a youth in jail, seeking to shine grace to him in the midst of poor choices. A young mother patiently corrects her two year old, time and time again, hoping to show his young heart the waywardness of his disobedience. I observe quietly as a single friend, who longs to be married, serves others with selfless love and care.
The inner lining of faithful and humble service of God’s people is beautiful to behold.
Most often it is those in the midst of a season of waiting, difficulty, hardship, or loneliness in which I see the Lord knitting such a beautiful display of His own character in their lives. I see a hint of kindness, catch a glimpse of patience, or observe the inner workings of self-control and I know I am viewing the work of a Master Craftsman.
It should be this way, shouldn’t it? For what an extravagant value we have been given! Our price tag reflects our high cost: bought by the precious blood of Christ.
The costly work of God on our behalf causes Paul to question, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Rom 8:31)
Paul also confidently declares, “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion” (Phil 1:6).
God continually works and shapes all the circumstances that we face, with a grand intention for our souls: He makes us like Jesus.
He does not just work on the outer layers, but He knits and fashions love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control into the inner reaches of our heart.
We are not just doing good works, we are in the process of becoming good.
And we can delight in these works without any room for boasting. We can apprehend them and encourage others in them because we know, “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 work, 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” (Eph 2:8-10).
As my friend dug around in her purse, I made sure to tell her how lovely it was and we both delighted in the craftsmanship of the item. As we observe the work of the Spirit in the lives of those around us, we would also do well to delight in the work of the Master Craftsman, encouraging one another with the glimpses we see.