“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10, NIV).
The thinking is all too often that “I can do it.” I can transform myself, make myself into the image that Christ will accept and approve. And more than this, I can dream up and perform feats of great works of service that prove my value and worth in order that I can gain entrance into the kingdom of God. After all that is the kind of world we live in. A real man is a self-made man and his great accomplishments are heralded before us in a myriad of media. And we could only hope that one day it will be our turn.
Not so in the kingdom of God. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10, NIV). This single sentence of Scripture says so much of what we need to comprehend. It is God that makes or creates the man in Christ Jesus. When we come to the Father, broken and ill, that is what we present to him. Not a whole man, but a broken man. And it is God through Jesus Christ that we are transformed into the man we desire to become. But that is an operation that only God can perform on us. We simply don’t have the knowledge, experience, power and wisdom to transform our ourselves by ourselves. But God does. And he makes us “a new man in Christ.”
Interestingly, the same is true for our good works. We are often tempted to think that we have to prove ourselves to the Lord by coming up with some incredible scheme of good works to show our worth to God. But we don’t have to. We are his good work; we are the creation he has made. It is there that our value is anchored. I don’t have to prove to God that I am worth it because he is author of my soul in Christ. And the work that I must do is not my own. It is the work that he has prepared in advance for me to do. So it is not “I”, but God who is the author of my life and my works. I don’t have to create myself in “his image.” God has already done that for me in Christ. I don’t have to wrack my brain trying to figure out what good deeds that I must do to prove myself. The good works have been prepared before hand in advance by God for me to do. And more often than not those good deeds are simple. Like helping grandmother around the house, mowing the neighbor’s lawn when they are sick. Or, taking a bowl of chili to the one who has fever and walking down the sidewalk listening to a friend in need.
So let us all do a couple simple things today; like, putting a smile on our faces and gladness in our hearts. Why? Because, God re-created us. Because, God laid our work simply and lovingly before us. And we don’t have to work so hard at trying to prove ourselves every step of the way. All we have to do is love God and love one another. And this is so often, and best accomplished when we simply stop serving self and begin serving one another.