|"The Calling of St. Matthew" by James Tissot|
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Ephesians 2:1-22
TO CHEW ON: "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10
Os Guinness begins the introduction to his book The Call:
"Are you looking for purpose in life? For a purpose big enough to absorb every ounce of your attention, deep enough to plumb every mystery of your passions, and lasting enough to inspire you to your last breath?"He goes on to outline the three main answers to the search for purpose we moderns consider:
- The Eastern answer: "If the final reality is an impersonal ground of being (the so-called 'undifferentiated impersonal') what is the purpose of life for each of us individuals? ... Forget it and forget yourself."
- The secularist answer: "If the final reality is chance and there is no God (or gods or the supernatural) to consider, then purpose is up to each of us to decide and achieve for ourselves by ourselves. We don't discover it—we decide it."
- The biblical answer: "From this perspective the final reality is neither chance nor an impersonal ground of being but an infinite personal God who has created us in his image and calls us into relationship with himself. Our life purpose therefore comes from two sources at once—who we are created to be and who we are called to be" - Os Guinness, The Call, pp. vii-ix (emphasis added).
This is what Paul is writing about to the Christians in Ephesus—this purposeful life. He tells them that God's specific purpose for each individual was planned in the mind of God "beforehand"—before we ever came to be. God formed us with it in mind. We are his workmanship.
["Workmanship - poeima: The word suggests that which is manufactured, a product, a design produced by an artisan. Poiema emphasizes God as the Master Designer, the universe as His creation (Romans 1:20) and the redeemed believer as His new creation. (Ephesians 2:10). Before conversion our lives had no rhyme or reason. Conversion brought us balance, symmetry and order. We are God's poem, His work of art" - Dick Mills, Word Wealth, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1647.]
I believe this intentionality on God's part not only encompasses who He formed us to be physically but when and where we were born, the family to which we belong, our strengths and weakness, the experiences we've gone through. They all work and are working to form us into the people that fit into a foreordained place in God's eternal plan and purpose for earth and the universe.
Let's embrace who God has made us and seek to put ourselves more and more at His disposal to perform those "good works" He prepared for us from eternity past (raise those kids, teach that class, work in that food bank, visit those sick, write that book, compose that song, build that house...).
PRAYER: Dear God, thank You that there are no accidents, no "Oops" moments with You. Help me to discover and live the destiny for which You have formed me. Amen.
MORE: "Follow Me"
"Are you open to the possibility that there is one who created you to be who you are and calls you to be who he alone knows you can be? Then listen to Jesus of Nazareth and his two words that changed the world—'Follow me'" - Os Guinness, The Call, p. ix (emphasis added).