God’s Good Works; May 1, 2019

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.

The previous two verses are enormously important and appropriately famous, but this verse gets overlooked at times. God doesn’t save us by grace through faith just to sit around like a bump on a log. We are not saved by what we do, but we are saved in order to do stuff. I have always thought that the cartoon representations of heaven were at times amusing but ultimately absurd, with people sporting wings and halos sitting around on clouds strumming harps. Harps do appear in the Revelation of John, but they aren’t why we go to heaven! I have read various things about our supernatural dominion and the like, but the vast majority of that is just conjecture. What we do know is that God has a plan, it’s good, and it involves us doing stuff. The important thing becomes discovering what God wants us to do. We do know that our first priority is loving Him, and then loving our neighbor. (Matthew 22:37-40) However, that will look different from one person to the next. The point then becomes getting close enough to the Lord to hear accurately what He is saying to do, and then do it with all that we have. The tricky thing is that there are a lot of good things that God doesn’t necessarily want us to do. They aren’t bad in themselves, but they become distractions from God’s purposes for us.

This is of intense interest to me at this point, for a number of reasons. A couple of days ago I attended a conference that talked about “The Seven Essences of the Church.” The speaker was talking about how some things may be good to do, but if they aren’t a reflection of the essence of the Church, they aren’t necessary. One example was prayer meeting, which immediately produced a reaction in me – and it wasn’t a good one! However, his point was that prayer is essential to the Church, but prayer meeting isn’t, particularly as a “mid-week prayer service.” That’s not at all to say that such meetings are bad, but that rather that if the form takes priority over the function, the meaning is lost. Then, I encountered a very personal example. I usually do my devotions on a computer I had set up as an audio workstation, both for working on music in Finale and editing and burning CDs of our services. The past couple of months it had become increasingly unstable, crashing repeatedly at unpredictable intervals, and I decided it needed to be replaced. However, for the purpose of burning 12 or more CDs every week, I had 4 DVD drives installed, requiring a case with that many drive bays. Accordingly, I decided to replace the motherboard, to give me a new computer on the inside while retaining the previous outside. (I have built computers several times in the past.) However, things have not gone well, and right now I am doing this on my tablet computer, rather than the work station. The question then becomes, are CDs something I need to keep doing? My pride really gets in the way here, and that is something I have struggled with all my life. I need to get quiet enough before God to hear what He wants me to do, and what tools He wants me to use in the process. Anything less is essentially meaningless.

Father, thank You for this experience. The depression and sense of failure are no fun at all, but I know that You are growing me to listen to You more accurately, and I thank you for that. Thank You for having me go back and read what You had me write on January 2nd of this year. I was amazed at how appropriate it was! Help me indeed live out all that You say to me and not deceive myself, (James 1:22) so that I may be and do all that You desire, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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