Daily, I hear the phrase, “I just want to do what makes me happy.” I’ve even found myself thinking, “If I could just [insert something materialistic or physical], my life would be so much better.” From our social media reputations to the success we find in our careers, every one of us seems to be obsessed with the pursuit of perfection. While most of us know that perfection and earthly bliss is unattainable, we still go to exorbitant lengths searching for improvements to our condition, often beating ourselves up when we inevitably fall below expectations.
But, why? Why do we hold ourselves to such standards? I propose that this desire to latch on to something unattainable – something greater than us – is part of our God-given nature. But, it is a desire that has been twisted by a fallen humanity.
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul tells us that “we are [God’s] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10, ESV). In Paul’s original Greek language, “workmanship” is transliterated “poiēma.” Look familiar? That is where we get our word “poem” from today. Specifically, you and I are God’s creative expressions – His poetry.
Think of your favorite poem and the feeling it affords you. It may be as simple as the youthful love expressed in the phrase “Roses are red/ Violets are blue,” or maybe it’s as complex as Homer’s epic “Iliad.” Regardless, all poetry tells a story that extends beyond the words on the page. Its symbolism and metaphor conjures up imagery that speaks to the essence of life and humanity. Remember that raw emotion expressed by King David in the Psalms? No medium other than poetry could have allowed for such depth. It is the inherent sense of extended meaning that makes poetry so beautiful. It is that same inherent sense of extended meaning that makes us – God’s creation – so beautiful and valuable.
Every hair follicle on the top of your head down to the strength of the tendons within your feet, points to something greater than yourself. Every single cell in your body cries out in praise of its designer. You are poetry! You are beautiful in nature with so many implications that reach towards truth. You are God’s workmanship!
So, when you find yourself searching for happiness and meaning (as we all do, Christian or not), recognize that this is your natural inclination to connect with your Creator. When you are feeling lost, abandoned, and confused, remember Ephesians 2:10: Because you are God’s workmanship, you were “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that [you] should walk in them.” In other words, your path has already been declared! Your way is set, and your Father will stand with you – his cherished creation – every step of the way!
We can all find peace in the fact that the very poetic inner-workings of our bodies demonstrate a greater coalescence between our lives and God’s will. As His poetry, we are at liberty to live according to his promises of provision, for we have already found that coveted sense of happiness. This joy is permanent. This joy is freedom!