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Jade is critical to Guatemala’s heritage and economy. The Ancient Mayans discovered natural caches of jade throughout this region, including the Motagua River Valley. The Mayans carved jade into beautiful ceremonial pieces, jewelry, weapons, and tools. The distinctive green gem represents durability and strength, a hallmark of the Guatemalan people.

The love for jade continues in modern-day Guatemala. Antiguans create gorgeous jade pieces that are sold around the globe. Though most associate jade with the classic green hue, the gem contains many color variations. The unique nature of each piece only adds to their value. No two pieces of jade are the same.

Once jade is mined, artisans assess each piece for potential. Though the raw material is beautiful, it takes a special eye to understand what it could become. A ring or a necklace? A bracelet or a vase?

Once the artisans decide what shape the stone shall take, they begin the refining process. They file off rough edges and polish until the stone gleams. This process can take days or weeks. The result is something incredible to behold.

Like jade, we, too, are born from the earth. God created humanity out of dust but added one other critical component: His breath. The Hebrew word for breath, ruah, also means “spirit.” God gave us life through His breath.

Just like jade, we are precious in our natural form. Made by the Creator of the universe, each person is a miracle of their own. But God does not leave us in our raw form. When we are reborn into Christ, we receive another Spirit, God’s Holy Spirit, to indwell within us. God is the ultimate craftsman. Once we have been selected for God’s eternal purpose, the Spirit begins to sanctify us.

With a jeweler’s eye, the Spirit assesses our strengths and weaknesses. He sees our potential, our place in the body of Christ. He begins to refine us, chipping away at our sins. Each pass of the sander polishes away the dirt to reveal the image of God deeply ingrained in each human being. Slowly, the piece takes shape.

This refinement serves a critical purpose: preparing believers to help the body of Christ.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

As we grow in the fruit of the Spirit, we represent God to a broken and hurting world.

Unlike precious jade, we can participate in our sanctification. As Apostle Paul reminded the church of Rome:

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2

So what does it look like to be shaped by the Holy Spirit? We continually submit ourselves to God’s will. We chip away at sin through prayer and reading scripture. We take shape through participation in small groups and weekly worship. We are polished through serving others and sharing our stories.

Each person, just like each jade piece, will have a different result. Our unique personality and giftings factor into who the Spirit shapes us to be. But we can trust that the result will form a beautiful and critical adornment on the body of Christ.

“For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.” Romans 12:4-6

May the Spirit continue to sanctify us to glorify God and bless his kingdom.