Christian Living

Michelangelo’s prisoners

Michelangelo was probably the greatest sculptor of all time. He believed that, as a sculptor, he was a tool of God, not creating but simply revealing the powerful figures already contained in the stone. His task was only to chip away the excess, to reveal what was already there.

Michelangelo had the uncanny ability to see the finished sculpture in his mind before he chipped away the first flake from the stone. That’s why his unfinished sculptures are referred to as Michelangelo’s prisoners because the magnificent figure is held captive in his unfinished work.

We’re much like Michelangelo’s prisoners, in that we too are an unfinished work. After we’re saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, the process by which we’re progressively conformed to God’s will begins. God sees what we can become, and he works through the Holy Spirit to conform us into the image of His son, Jesus. That is if we let Him.

Consider the words of Jesus:

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.
John 15:1-2 (NKJV)

God doesn’t force us to bear more fruit. That comes naturally, as a result of becoming a new creation when we’re saved. However, even though we’re a new creation, we’re still stuck with our sinful nature. But, as long as we abide in Christ, God will prune our sinful tendencies, so we can bear even more fruit for the kingdom of God. But, unlike Michelangelo’s prisoners which can’t resist the sculptor, we can choose to resist God’s pruning shears. That is to say, we can resist God’s will for our lives, slowing the pruning process significantly.

Jesus isn’t going to put you in a headlock while Father God forcibly prunes you.

We’re all being changed into the image of Christ at different speeds. Some of us are changing quickly while others are changing very slowly. Sometimes we even veer off the path of righteousness and headlong into sin for a time. When that happens, we have a father in heaven who is faithful to forgive us our sins and bring us back into fellowship with Him.

My prayer for you is that you’ll make the commitment to let God prune the bad stuff from your life. Allow Him to work in you to remove the things that are keeping you from bearing good fruit. Don’t be like Saul of Tarsus, and so many others, who choose instead to kick against the goads (Acts 26:14 NKJV).

Recommended reading: John 15:1-8

Related resources

You will know them by their fruits

We are all slaves

Five ways to fight the virus of sin

Four promised benefits of obedience

What does it mean to kick against the goads?

I first professed my belief in Jesus as the Son of God and accepted Him as my Savior more than 40 years ago. Since that day, I’ve never doubted that Jesus is who He claims to be. However, that belief didn’t keep me from living my life on my own terms for several years, which resulted in repeating the same sins over and over. In 2013, I became determined to make Jesus the Lord of my life. It was then that the Holy Spirit gave me an insatiable appetite for God’s word. As I turned more and more of my life over to Jesus and cooperated with the Holy Spirit, He has helped me break free of the sins that once enslaved me. Since then, I’ve been strongly compelled to share God’s word and to warn others that we need to get ready because Jesus is coming soon.

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