Light danced around the inside of my car as I sat in traffic on the freeway. The sun was refracting through my wedding set bouncing a kaleidoscope of color all around. We weren’t going anywhere any time soon so I took a moment to study the shining symbol of marriage on my left hand.
The actual engagement ring is a single round brilliant-cut stone. It may not earn top ratings for clarity and color but it brings a smile to my face whenever I look at it. He bought it for me when we were struggling college students. The original wedding bands, two narrow gold rings that my brother made, have been replaced by a diamond ring guard—a surprise for our tenth anniversary. Each of the many gems of differing size were catching and reflecting little bits of sunlight.
The stones in my ring didn’t begin life as glittering diamonds; they were once lumps of ebony coal. Under the right conditions of pressure and temperature, they were transformed into diamonds. But that was just a beginning. Uncut diamonds—while an improvement over lumps of coal—are still unremarkable, a long way from the sparkling beauties in my wedding band.
Each diamond had to go under the skilled hand of a master craftsman. He began with a rough-cut, chipping away the most obvious flaws. Bit by bit he took great care to cut away pieces. When he was done, what was left would flash with fire as light rays reflected through its many facets. His cuts were not random—but precisely made and planned—even before he made the first one.
We begin life much like a diamond. Our souls are dark like coal with the sin of a life lived in separation from God. When we give our life to Him, accepting the gift of salvation through Jesus, we are transformed just as the coal is. Yet, we too are works in progress as the Master Craftsman chips away at the flaws still within. Using His master plan, He works to reveal the person He created us to be.
The tools He uses are varied; scripture, conviction by the Holy Spirit, and even trials of life. He works little by little until the flaws and imperfections break away. But unlike the coal and the uncut diamond, it is up to us to allow Him to complete the work in us. We are each given free-will. He will never force His way upon us. We must surrender ourselves and every flaw.
When we first start our walk with Him, we are like uncut diamonds receiving our rough-cut. We start to shine some of His light but the sin nature that remains inside does not allow all of His light to shine through. We must surrender every part of ourselves to receive the finished brilliant-cut. Sin cannot be cut away while we continue to hold on to it.
The deeper our walk with Him, the more He reveals the layers of our sin nature to us. Not to condemn us—for Jesus’ death covered all of our sin—but to ask us to surrender it to Him. It will cease to cling to us only through His strength. The cutting process is often painful as He chips away at the ugliness that remains. But He is always there beside us, loving us through the hurt. The more He perfects His work in us the more brilliantly we reflect the Son to the world.
Sometimes I shine brightly with the love of God and clearly show His light to the world. But there are many more times, I am saddened to say, when I don’t. The light strikes a flaw, a sin in me, that I have not fully surrendered to the cutting tool. The light is unable to shine through me; the world sees instead the ugliness that remains within. I do not want to remain His flawed creation so daily I must surrender and willingly place all of myself under the hand of the Master Craftsman.
Message for the Journey:
A master craftsman is not content to leave imperfections in his work, neither is God content to leave them in us. He loves us too much to allow us to remain how He found us. The trial, difficulty or challenge you are facing just may be the fingerprints of God molding you into something better.
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus return.”