When you buy a puzzle in the store it is not quite the same as buying a picture. You probably bought it because you liked the picture on the box, but there is some assembly required. Maybe a lot of assembly. In fact, the assembly is the fun part of a puzzle. Rather than just buying a picture, you are buying something to work on, perhaps with friends or family.When we come to Christ, we get all of Him. But some assembly is required. Click To Tweet
My daughter and her boyfriend love puzzles. There must be a dozen puzzles downstairs in my family room. Sadly, some of them got completed and then other people carelessly pushed them aside. They were partly disassembled and some of the pieces got lost or mixed with other puzzles. The last time they put together a puzzle though, they used ModPodge and glued it to a backboard so they could hang it up to display in his apartment. It is now a permanent picture that displays what was on the box in greater detail. It shows off the work of the artist and the patience of the ones who put the puzzle together.
The Bible is full of verses telling us that we have everything we need in Christ. But our experience tells us something is missing. In many ways, our lives are like puzzles. When we come to Christ, we get all of Him. But some assembly is required.
By God’s grace, we have been given all the pieces of the puzzle, but it requires our faith and patience to assemble it and receive all that has been promised (Hebrews 6:12). Faith cannot make puzzle pieces come into existence, it can only take what God has given and put it together, patiently. Even though we cannot see ourselves as whole and complete we have a promise from the Manufacturer that all the pieces are there and, with patient assembly, the pieces of our lives will exactly resemble the picture on the box, Jesus Christ.
Can you imagine putting together a huge jigsaw puzzle without the picture on the box? It would be practically impossible—and not a lot of fun, either. When I put together a puzzle I spend as much time looking at the picture on the box as I do looking for parts of the puzzle. I see in my puzzle a bit of yellow fuzz, and I search the picture on the box to find that this is actually a piece of a lion’s mane. Now I know what piece to search for.
In the same way, to assemble the pieces of our lives, we must continually behold the face of the One whose picture we bear. As we behold Him, we are transformed to be like Him from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). If we spend all our time looking at the disconnected pieces and sub-assemblies of our lives, we get confused and discouraged. Only looking at the Picture brings perspective and clarity.
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV)
In Philippians 2 Paul describes how Jesus came from heaven in the image of God and made Himself into the image of a mere human, a servant. He did not cling to His heavenly majesty, but He laid it aside and took on our condition. He was broken to pieces so that our broken lives could be made whole again. In light of this, Paul calls us to take on the image of Christ:
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.Philippians 2:12-13 (NIV)
God is the one who works in us to fulfill His purpose in our lives, but it is our job to continue to work out that purpose in collaboration with Him. Sometimes, we mess up our puzzles. Sometimes others carelessly destroy what we have painstakingly built. Sometimes we add things to our lives that don’t reflect the image of Christ. There are pieces from a foreign puzzle that have snuck in there. That is why it is good to know that our puzzle is actually His work, and He knows how to finish what He has started (Philippians 1:6).Don’t spend so much time looking at all the disconnected pieces. Just believe that God knows what He’s doing with you, and spend a lot of time looking at the picture on the box! Click To Tweet
So I want to encourage you: your life may look like a shattered mess. But it’s not broken, it’s just not finished. God has given you all the pieces, and He promises that if you will just rely on Him and work with Him, you can put together a beautiful picture that reflects Jesus.