The story goes that Michelangelo was once asked about his process of creating such beautiful sculptures. “What is your secret?” “How do you do it?” some admirer asked him. Michelangelo is reported as saying,

In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.

In another instance, he stated the same basic concept in a different way:

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.

Sanctification is one of those “churchy” words that has a tendency to evoke head nods and quizzical looks as people realize they’ve heard the word, but don’t really know what it means. I think it means something like this: We are “works in progress.” The Holy Spirit is working in us to produce Christlikeness, to help us grow in maturity, and to help us realize the plan of God for our lives.

How is the process going in your life? Are you beginning to see the form emerge? Are you catching a glimpse of the Christlikeness being brought out of you? Are you feeling the pain of rough edges being chipped and filed and sanded away? Are you closer today than you were yesterday?

The bottom line is this: disciples are handmade – not mass produced. There is no magic formula. There is no secret pill. There are no shortcuts. There is no easy way. It’s hard, it’s slow, it’s painful at times, it’s frustrating – but here’s the deal: There is a masterpiece inside you, just waiting to be set free.

Michelangelo's Pieta

Michelangelo’s Pieta