Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians is incredibly loaded with vital, deep truth. The first part of this verse is something that every human being needs to get worked into their awareness, their very soul. We sometimes use the term, “self-made man,” but Paul is stating that’s an impossibility. We cannot create ourselves! What we are when we are born is God’s gift to us, but what we become is our gift to Him. Many people rebel at that idea and claim to be atheists, but my very strong impression is that there are few if any people who are genuine atheists by conviction. Rather, people convince themselves there is no God because they don’t want to acknowledge a Creator. That’s why “atheists” get upset when people proclaim God to them: they don’t want their fantasy bubble disturbed. Interestingly, that’s precisely what they accuse devout Christians of! The same mechanism is at work in agnostics, those who acknowledge that there may be a Creator but say that all religions have an equal chance of being true, so why choose? They too don’t want to face the absolute standard of a righteous God who loved them enough to die for them. I have a lot of “Facebook friends” who fit in that category. However, this verse doesn’t let Christians off the hook, either. Paul makes it very clear that each of us was created for a purpose, to accomplish things in line with God’s will. Far too often we forget that, and try to plan our lives without ever consulting God as to what His plan might be. As the previous two verses so famously proclaim, this isn’t at all “salvation by works,” but it is a declaration of purpose; we aren’t put here for no reason. Many people struggle with a search for meaning in their lives, and even despair of finding any. This verse makes it clear that what we need to do is search first for our Creator, and let Him show us what our purpose, our meaning, is.
I have a solid foundation of faith, but even I struggle at times with a sense of purposelessness, of futility. That is perhaps a particular pitfall of ministry in Japan, where the rate of return for effort invested is so low. The devil wants me to give up, to stop trying, but I need to resist him by seeking, and doing, whatever good works the Lord has prepared for me today. They might not be, and probably won’t be, “great” and “earth-shaking,” but if they are things that God has prepared for me to do, then doing them is enough. I do not know, I cannot know, the eventual repercussions of each thing I do, and in God’s plan those repercussions might indeed change the world. However, my focus is to be on step-by-step faithfulness, doing the task at hand with the abilities He has given me, for His glory.
Father, thank You for this reminder. I needed it! You know the attacks I am under, and I know that You are more than able to overcome each one, and that in Christ, I can too. Help me indeed rest, relax, and rejoice in You, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!