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
Ephesians 2:10 has some powerful truth in it. (I, however, encourage you to read Eph. 2:1-10 to get the context.) This passage has been an important part of my studies recently as I have led our church through a study of the book of Ephesians during our eGrace sermon series. The reason this passage is so important to me is because it is so difficult for me. It is not difficult to understand, but it is the ongoing struggle of my walk with Christ. In this blog I am going to share with you one of my greatest spiritual struggles and hope you will it will help you grow.
“We are God’s workmanship” means that we are his handiwork or his craftsmanship. We are literally the work of God. God has worked in us and on us to create us and cause us to be who we are right now. This is the product of God’s grace in our life. We are saved through faith and the living out of that salvation is still God’s grace.
The problem is that I too often get consumed with the “good works, which God prepared in advance.” My struggle is quite different from many peoples but some of you can relate. My struggle is that I fail to find my value in God’s workmanship before I find my value in my good works. The spiritual issue that this causes is simple to explain but difficult to overcome.
The reality of works and workmanship is that a person (even me) can not do any of the works that God prepared for them without first being his workmanship. The other side of that coin is that you can never become God’s workmanship through your works. You will never be able to do what God prepared for you nor will you ever become what God intended you to become through you work. That is why salvation is by grace and not works.
My struggle with this has been long and difficult. I so often find my identity wrapped up in what I do for Christ that I fail to realize that really all I am is what he has done for me. The last 15 years of my life has been so entwined with my identity in ministry that I have too often failed to find my identity in Christ. My own self-image and self-confidence has been so connected to what I did for God that I have too often failed to find it in what he has done in me and for me.
Over the past year I have found great growth in this area, but I am discovering it is a true spiritual battle in my life. I preached on spiritual warfare this week out of Ephesians 6:10-20 and the armor of God. The truth I taught was that each object of armor is actually an object of God’s grace. It is his truth…his righteousness…his Gospel…his salvation…his faith…and his word we wear. It is his work that we are as it is his work that we do.
I share this with you to challenge you. I challenge you to be real about who you and who you are not. You are his workmanship before you are his worker. But at the same time you must realize that he uses the works he has prepared for you to chisel you and to paint upon the canvas of your life his masterpiece. Do not think that your role is to sit and be sculpted for no purpose. It is in the midst of doing the greatest work of your life in the Kingdom of God that the King of Kings will do his greatest work on your life.
There is a balance to this truth. I have committed to fighting the spiritual battle necessary to find God’s truth in all this. I have decided to enjoy the work he has done and is doing. I might not be exactly who I should be, but that is the whole point of grace. I have also decided to never stop seeking the work he has prepared for me. I have decided to the do the work of workmanship. It is in that combination that God receives the glory due His name in our lives.
So stand up and be counted in the Kingdom sculptures of grace. Move forward artwork of the Master. And allow the tapping of his hammer and the tapestry of your life to be the image of God in the eyes of the world around you as you serve him faithfully in your family, your daily life, and His Church.