Verse 10 was another popular one, so another extra day is going towards fleshing this out even more!
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
A few years ago I started serving at the IBLP Headquarters where I was blessed to be around many Godly young people, each one at different points in their walk with God. Soon I began to look up to a few of the single guys that were older than me…and not just because I was shorter than them…but because they inspired me to grow closer to the Lord by their words and actions. One of them I began to particularly admire, and I told myself I wanted to be just like him. He was passionate about the Lord and helping young people and his relationship with Jesus was real….plus he was strong and handsome with a likable personality! He was involved in almost all of the “spiritual” and “important” things in the Headquarters. I thought, “If I were just like him then God could really use me to do great things for His Kingdom!” So I carefully watched everything he did and tried to apply it to my own life; I tried to walk the way he walked and talk the way he talked. I did things the way he did….I even tried to dress like him and do my hair the same way! I was determined to be just like him and do what he did so that I could be effective for God.
After a few months, I figured I was pretty much just like him and now I could be effective for Christ if I were just given the same opportunities he was given. So I prayed and prayed that I could be on the Peru team and help with conferences and be a Journey leader and do Ultimate Quest and be a part of all the things that he was a part of. But for some reason I did not get those opportunities. No, I was stuck at HQ laying carpet day after day after day; room after room after room; 85 rooms, 5 looong hallways, stairways, offices, lobbies, carpet here, carpet there, carpet everywhere!! All the time wondering, “When will I get to be used by God?”
Then one day I was meditating on Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works”…. My thought was, “See God, You created me to do good works, where are all the opportunities?” (Wait a second, finish the verse) ”Which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
“Okay???….what does that mean…?”
Simply this – we are God’s handiwork, (His skillfully designed and created being), born anew in Christ Jesus and created for a specific purpose which God has before ordained (Entirely prepared and made ready prior to the appointed time.) And we should give ourselves entirely to, and be occupied with, that purpose.
It was like God said, “Before you were even created, I had a specific assignment needing to be done. And with that specific assignment in mind I created you. I formed you and made you just the way you are and I have been training you and preparing you for that very purpose. I made you to be you! I didn’t make you to be Matt, or David, or Sam or anyone else. I have something specific for you and that is why I created you.”
I was blown away! For the first time I realized that I am who I am for a very specific reason. I’m not just a random creation of God who is supposed to believe in Jesus and try to do something lasting with my life. No, I am fearfully and wonderfully made for a specific purpose, at a specific time, which God prepared thousands of years ago! It would be disastrous if I were to try to be someone else or do what God has called someone else to do, and neglect what He has called me to do.
Once I learned how important I am to God and that He has special plans for me, then I figured He must have a reason for having me do all this carpet. Looking back at it all now, I see how God used that time I spent laying carpet to build disciplines into my life that I would need down the road. Things that I would not have learned if I were busy doing all the other “important” ministry. Oh, and about ministry….during the time I was laying carpet, God brought many young men along to help me. Some for just a day or two and some for a few weeks or even months. Throughout the year, God allowed me to invest in the lives of more than 20 young men by counseling and encouraging them in their walk with Christ…..and I thought I was missing out on all the ministry!!
Let me give you another example, but this time looking at it from God’s perspective. Imagine you are a building contractor and you are going to build a house. You are not the one doing the actual work, you’re the one in charge of overseeing the project and getting all the right workers and materials and everything else necessary for building a house. So you hire a concrete company to lay the foundation, a framer to frame the house, an electrician, a plumber, a roofer, and so forth and so on. You give each one a specific task at a specific time and a specific place. You give each one a set of blue prints so they know exactly what needs to be done and where to do it.
So the concrete company comes out and lays the foundation for the house at their appointed time. Then the framer comes out and builds the wood structure for the house. While other work is going on outside, the electrician and plumber are at work inside. Soon the plumber begins to think that the electrician’s job is more important than his own. He says to himself, “Wow! That electrician sure does a lot of important things. If only I could prove to others that I am as good as the electrician, then I could do the really important things like him.” So the plumber decides to help with the electrician’s job even though he doesn’t have the right tools or skills. So he hooks water lines up to the air conditioning and to each outlet and light fixture but neglects to hook up the sinks, showers, and toilets.
When the whole house is complete, it may look great, but you end up with a house that pours water out of the ceiling lights and the air conditioning, and a bunch of showers, sinks, and toilets that don’t have any water! Disastrous right? Well I had been doing the same thing as the plumber, but it didn’t take long for me to figure out that trying to be someone I was not created to be was both hard and frustrating!
So what’s the answer? Well I believe it all has to do with where we place our focus. If our focus is on people, there will always be someone who we see as more “important” or “spiritual” than ourselves and we will never be content with where God has us. The truth is, there is only one person who we should be trying to imitate and that is Jesus. And honestly, any good or admirable quality you see in someone else is nothing but the work of Christ in their life anyways. I love how Roy Hession puts it in his book The Calvary Road. He states,
“The only beautiful thing about the Christian is Jesus Christ.”
This is so true and it was exactly what I needed to understand. It wasn’t that this guy I wanted to be like was so exceptional. He was just an average guy. It was his decision to let Jesus Christ shine through his life that made him special! I’m not saying we don’t need spiritual leaders or mentors. Oh yes we do! But it’s important to realize why we admire someone and understand what they should inspire us to do. So rather than trying to be someone we were not made to be, we should take the Christ-like character we see in their life and apply it to our life so that we will become more like Christ.
One last thing I want to share with you…..In Ephesians 2:10, the word workmanship comes from the Greek word Poieo, which is also where we get the word poem. So, from now on, whenever you hear this verse, remember that you are part of God’s masterful poem. Each word carefully chosen, every sound and syllable carefully placed with perfect rhyme. You are His perfectly chosen word, fit perfectly in place for such a time as this.