Friday, November 14, 2014

Shine Like the Gem You Are

I am going to break from my usual metaphor of gardening and go with another one this week—gemstones.

Raw gemstones are nothing special to look at.  They are grey and dull and lifeless.  It is not until they get into the hands of a master cutter that the beauty and value of a gemstone is revealed.

One of the values of a gemstone is in the cut.  The cut is what produces the facets on the surface of a stone and the facets are what reflect the light that makes the gem sparkle.  This is where the master cutter comes in.  The facets have to be just right—too steep or too shallow and there will be no reflection and so no sparkle.

Believers are like those gems.  Without God, we are nothing special—we are dull and lifeless.  In fact, we are dead!  God is the master cutter—grinding and polishing until we sparkle with his light.  That light doesn’t originate with us but instead comes from the Father and reflects off our character, a character that is produced by the many experiences that God has allowed in our lives.

Sound like a beautiful process, right?  It is but only if you focus on the end product-- the precious gemstone. The key words in the process are grinding and cutting, both painful processes.  Some of the most transforming of experiences in our lives are painful, but God orchestrated them in such a masterful and specific way as to produce groves and facets in our lives.  Those facets are what the light of God reflects off of to produce His glory.  Without God’s masterful hands, painful experiences would produce groves in our lives that are either too shallow or too deep to reflect God’s light and so do not glorify God, as they should. We would remain ugly, dull and lifeless.

Romans 5:3-5Not only so, but we[a] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Another aspect of value and beauty in gemstones is color.  Color is based on the atomic structure of a gem that either reflects or absorbs light.  Sometimes other elements are introduced into the atomic structure of a natural gemstone and so produce a unique and sometimes rare and thus valuable color.  These are considered ‘impurities’ and can actually be very minor manipulations in the atomic structure of the gem (as few as one in a million atoms) but can produce very dramatic results.

Our character is created by God and is intrinsic to us.  God introduces elements into our personalities that produce our uniqueness.  These may be considered impurities to some, but in God’s masterful hands they can produce our unique nature that can be used to add beauty to the world.  None of these elements are accidental.  We should accept are so called ‘impurities’ as gifts from God and use them to bring glory to God. We are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).

My hope is that you recognize that you are God’s gem, his treasure and that by recognizing that you can allow God to work in your life so that His glory, shines.  

Ephesians 2:10
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.