From Erwin McManus Mosaic Church L.A.
The bible isn’t a manuscript of conformity – it is a manifesto of creativity. God is an artist, not a warden. He is creating a masterpiece not a prison. God imagined you so that you could imagine. He created you so that you can create. You were designed by God to be the most unique creature He ever created. Humans create futures – we imagine the invisible and translate it into reality.
The creative act is born out of your voice. You have to know your voice, find it and have a deep conviction of your inner voice – the one you were meant to have. You see God gave you an inner voice – your voice – unique to you and from it, you create.
God spoke and the universe was created. Everything God creates, He speaks into existence, “Let us create man in our image.” And with man, it was personal and intimate. Nostril to nostril, mouth to mouth, God breathed life into us. And we became his pinnacle work of art. Humans literally were God’s voice wrapped up in skin. We were what God imagined and dreamed up. Jeremiah – “Before you were born, I knew you.” We existed in the imagination of God.
In the Garden of Eden, God created us and we could eat freely and every choice was a good choice, except one. The serpent appears and says, “If you eat from this tree, you will be just like God.” But Scripture says we were made in the image of God in his likeness. So the serpent says the fruit will make us just like God but we had already been made in his image…like God. Serpent twists and convinces Eve that God is holding out on her and that if she ate it, she’d be like God, convincing her she didn’t have what she truly longed for. Naked, unashamed, free to roam and eat and play and love and discover and enjoy – and yet, Satan lured her saying “you don’t have what you truly long for”.
How many of us have fallen for that? “If only I had more money”. “If only I had ____”. Mankind has been fighting this ever since the Garden. A new voice entered upon the scene saying, “God doesn’t have your best interests at heart. He’s withholding from you.”
When God comes into the Garden, he doesn’t say, “Why did you do that?” He says, “Adam where are you?” And Adam replied, “I heard you in the Garden and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.” God’s response is fascinating – “Who told you that you were naked?”
As if God was saying, “Adam, up until this moment, everything in your world and reality was informed by my voice. But now you’ve allowed another voice in your soul to replace my voice. Who told you that you were naked? Have I ever told you that?”
From that moment on, we’ve all been listening to the wrong voices, allowing other voices to creep into our minds, our hearts and our souls to tell us that we’re not. That we’re less. For some of you, the voice has become so powerful, you now think it is your voice. Most of us have voices that made us feel ashamed, inadequate, that we’d never amount to anything, that we’d never have value, that we are “less” – we’ve believed the lies. And if God could have a simple conversation with you, he’d say, “Who told you that you were naked? Whose voice did you allow to thunder into your soul and re-form who you are? Who silenced my voice inside you?”
All these other voices they speak into your soul and they damage who you are and they begin to silence the voice who made you. What is the story you are telling yourself about who you are? The voice that says “You will always be a failure” or “You don’t matter” or “You have no worth” or “No one would really love you if they knew you” or “You are such a disappointment”? These aren’t from God. The voice of God will always call you to more, will always tell you that you have value and always tell you that you are significant and irreplaceable.
The story of Elijah is of interest here. He stood down 700 men but when Jezebel – one woman – said she’d kill him, he ran for his life. Isn’t the power of just one voice amazing? Elijah runs out into the wilderness to hide and wait for his death. And angel approaches him and tells him to get up that God wants to have a conversation with him. God calls him to a cave where Elijah witnesses a great wind blow past, an earthquake and then a roaring fire and still, God was in none of these. Then came a “still, small voice” … “what are you doing here Elijah?” i.e. “You don’t need the big and the spectacular, what you need is My voice. A gentle whisper from my voice is all your soul needs to be fully alive, to find the strength and resolve to live the story you were born to live.”
A good artist knows the difference between his original creation and the imitation. He can tell. The original work has conviction from the artist’s inner voice. It isn’t an echo or imitation. God cannot resolve Himself to accept that your life would end as an imitation or an echo. He passionately and intently pursues you so that you will become an artist at work creating as well as His work of art.
God will teach you how to listen more carefully to His voice and how to silence the noise … Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock and if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and fellowship with him and he with me.”
Who told me I was naked and should be ashamed? What voice told me I was worthless, shameful, guilty and invaluable? The adulterous woman – Jesus never saw her nakedness, He asked her “who condemns you?” (who told you that you were naked?). He saw her shame and knew if He could free her of the shame, then her nakedness would be irrelevant. King David came back from war and danced naked before the Lord. What happens to the human spirit when we stop caring what other people think and say and how they feel about our love for God?
What would happen if stopped letting their voice define us and instead let God’s voice be the one that defines us?
Learn to dance naked in the rain because when the world tries to shame you and tell you that you are less and tries to speak into your soul a message that you don’t matter, it’s time to dance in the rain and listens to the voice that says, “You may be naked, but I’ve taken away your shame.”
Some of you have been haunted by voices for so, so long. They just keep pulling you under and taking you back – it’s time to surrender these and let Jesus silence those voices. It’s time to let the one that created you and knows you, the artist who is the living God make you His work of art; to speak into your soul so that you can be both a work of art and an artist at work. Jesus created you to create and imagined you to imagine to create the future. We’re designed by God to imagine what does not yet exist and to then find the courage, passion and faith to make it the future of the world.