"For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself." (Galatians 6:3)
You can't become something until you realize you are nothing. Man, without the Lord's restraining power, would descend into the depths of wickedness. You've heard people refer to a man as "good.” His sin might not be as obvious as others, but that does not make him good. You can see dirt but you can't see germs, but germs are more harmful to your health than dirt. You won't find gold dust in a pigsty and you won't find holiness in man.
It is true that not all men are equally bad, and many sinners have done noble things. But one transgression wipes out our good deeds and renders them all worthless.
When a person realizes they are worthless, God changes that worthless junk into a golden medal. Our worth is not found in ourselves, but in Christ. "The best of men have been always the readiest to confess their depravity. The holiest men, the most free from impurity, have always felt it most. He whose garments are the whitest, will best perceive the spots upon them." *
*C.H. Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Sermons Volume One (Hendrickson Publishers, 2016), 235.
"And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)
Ever since man was born, he fancies a feather will saw off his chains. If the feather blows away, then he hopes in a twig. When the twig breaks, he trusts in a mushroom. Then when someone hands him the key, he tosses it away because he didn't find it himself.
Salvation only resides in God and only through Christ's sacrifice. We can imagine as many saviors as we want—but they will not save us. Nothing we have done, are doing, or will do can save us. Good deeds are wonderful and so are cupcakes but neither are very helpful at unlocking a bolted door. Good works are the assurance of salvation, but never the source. Let us cling to the golden key, remembering it is our only hope for redemption.
Inspiration is a funny thing, but unfortunately it's not funny enough to laugh at. Some days inspiration plays hide-n-seek and it can take days, weeks, months, and sometimes even years to find it. Inspiration is like a tornado that continually changes direction. I've spent a whole day digging for inspiration and come up with a goldmine; other times I've discovered a goldmine simply by throwing a pineapple in the garbage can.
Sometimes it's best to stop looking for inspiration and let it find you. After a while it will get cramped in its hidey hole and come crawling back when it realizes you aren't playing hide-n-seek anymore. Twenty-five percent of inspiration comes when I'm writing, seventy-five percent when I'm not. The harder you try to find inspiration the deeper it'll hide.
But how long do you wait for inspiration to come? It's not practical to bake cupcakes everyday, watch videos of mischievous cats every afternoon, or spend 365 days at Disney World while you are waiting for inspiration. When it's past time for inspiration to come, go to work without it. Yeah, I know it's a lot harder, but when you don't have paintbrushes you gotta use your fingers. Uninspired writing may look like a weed in a sunflower field, but it won't ruin the whole field. When inspiration finally arrives, you can always go back to that section and pull that weed and plant a flower.
"Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth." (Psalms 115:1)
We glorify ourselves more than a peacock fans his feathers. One compliment inflates our head like a balloon, and a cheer of praise makes it a mountain. Then, poof! One look at God and that balloon pops. What are we to compare with Him? What is mud compared to gold or a shack compared to a castle? Why are the mud and shack praised when they deserve to be torn down, and the gold and the castle scorned as worthless?
All glory belongs to the glorious One. He gave glory to us who had none, distributing the spoils to us even though we did not participate in the battle. There is nothing in Him that is not glorious. He deserves exaltation for every attribute. Let us praise Him who loved us when we hated Him, and who gave us His divine truth when we spurned it. No one loves as strongly as He does. No one's words are as true as His. He deserves more honor than a thousand soldiers, for He has rescued more with His words than any army saved with the sword.
"Do not add to His words or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar." (Proverbs 30:6)
God is perfect, therefore His words are perfect. But we, being imperfect, cannot recognize perfection. We try to "correct" the perfect with our own flawed words and then the perfect is rendered imperfect. Adding your own words to Scripture is like pouring water on fire: it loses its power.
If American citizens started making up their own laws and ignoring the government's, a lot of people would be in jail. And when Christians start making their own doctrines and ignoring God's, a lot of people will end up in hell. God has never lied and never will. Man has lied and will continue to fib. What first appeared true may turn out false in the end. We must never trust human words unless they reiterate what God has spoken. Why trust the words of a rat when we can listen to a king? Adam and Eve listened to the snake's revised edition of God's commands and their descendants have been listening to it ever since. The smallest addition will stain the whole truth like a teaspoon of grape juice on a white garment. A lie plus the truth won't make it true, but it will make the truth false.
Many men have altered the truth and led the human race into a sink hole. But no matter how many revised versions of Scripture are printed, God will make sure there is always a copy of the original, untainted and unaltered, ready for anyone who is looking for it.
"Is the axe to boast itself over the one who chops with it? Is the saw to exalt itself over the one who wields it? That would be like a club wielding those who lift it, or like a rod lifting him who is not wood." (Isaiah 10:15)
"The detail in that painting is astonishing, the colors so vibrant, I must get the autograph of that paintbrush!" said no one ever. We are all paintbrushes, pens, axes, hammers, and screwdrivers in God's hand. But we often forget we are His tools. "I painted that!" boasted the paintbrush, "I wrote that!" chimed the pen. "I fixed that!" exclaimed the hammer, when really none of them did anything at all.
If all the pens in this world rose up and claimed to have written every book, we'd have a lot of angry authors. And I imagine all those pens would be murdered soon after. Thankfully, God is more patient than we are and endures His tools' uprisings. Unless a creative mind and a steady hand picks us up, we can do nothing.
What would you do if your paintbrushes started critiquing your work? "I think you should use me for thin strokes," said the fat brush. "I think you should use me for thick strokes," said the skinny brush. I don't think it'd be long before their mouths would be duct-taped or the artist would start wearing earplugs. The artist always knows best. He knows what paintbrush to use for each stroke to achieve the most striking array of beauty.
Mariposa is a self-taught artist who captures the glories of God's creation on canvas. She has a Ph.D. in creativity and a masters degree in imagination.
Aberdeen is a book-eating, ink-drinking dinosaur from the createtus period. When he isn't falling into plot holes or taking cover from the volcano of ideas, he's hanging out with Dee-Dee the doodledactyl. Read full bio