God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. Instead, we are God’s accomplishment, created in Christ Jesus to do good things. God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives.Ephesians 2:8-10 (NLT/CEB)
First, this PSA: “Thank you all for the overwhelming volume of your birthday greetings and the profound depth of your felicitations. I am humbled and grateful.”
Birthdays do tend to nudge me in the direction of self-examination. As do the scriptures. That is why this Ephesians passage is such a good fit for today. I believe it is a helpful word for all of us, especially how the writer’s thoughts address the ongoing question people have been discussing… arguing about… pontificating on… pondering… for as long as I can remember and likely throughout history.
The question: “Are people born with the natural inclination to do good, but often end up making bad choices? Or, are we pre-wired to be wrong and to do wrong, completely lost but for the intervention of redemption?”
And why think about something this deep on my birthday of all days?!
The Current Situation:
This morning I woke up with a sense of gratitude. I am grateful that, over the course of sixty-six years, my life has added up to something meaningful. So – and by the time I had walked the dog, brought Rebekah some coffee, gone next door to get my dad out of bed and into the kitchen for breakfast, and turned my attention to this post – my birthday meditations had led me to the point of wondering, How – if I were asked today – would I introduce myself?
I have a speaking gig at the end of April where just such an introduction is called for, so let’s give it a shot!
Not that God pulls the strings and then good stuff happens. But that, first, I must come to know Jesus, and get a sense of God’s purposes for my life. And, then, to live my life not just knowing about God’s purposes but actually living them. In fact, according the the writer of Ephesians, the way I live my life is the good that God has planned.
In other words, if I am to be “God’s Accomplishment” then it has to involve the confluence of God’s perfect will and my obedient response.
I was born (we are all born) with the potential to please and glorify God by living my life (our lives) in the goodness that God has planned for all along. God’s purposes; my day-to-day decisions.
This is the answer to the classic question! God’s purpose is to work in me and through me to spread his light and love – to be God’s light and love – in this beautiful, broken, conflicted, world.
The Bible makes the following observation in Genesis 1:31: “God saw everything he had made: it was supremely good.” Good! Don’t forget this! And goodness continues to be God’s purpose. “We are God’s accomplishment, created in Christ Jesus to do good things. God planned for these good things to be the way that we live our lives.”
God is still planning for these good things to be the way that we live our lives! – DEREK