Previously, I wrote about being created through Jesus, for Jesus (Colossians 1:16), to fulfill a purpose (good works - Ephesians 2:10) for His glory (Matthew 5:16).
I want to focus on this idea of good works found in Ephesians 2:10. What are they? How do we know if they are good? What if what I think are good works are meaningless acts wasting my time?
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
So, what are good works? I want to put a magnifying glass on the word works first. In my study time, this is the summarized definition I wrote in the margin of my bible, works – occupation; whatever your life is producing that is accomplished by hand, art, industry, or mind. In my search for what makes these works good, I came to this conclusion, that it is only by Jesus. I wrote this summarized definition in the margin of my bible for good, of good constitution or nature, joyful, useful, pleasant, distinguished, upright, honorable.
I honestly see the good part of good works unattainable and unrealistic unless Christ is added into the mix of it all. I'm not sure about you, but if you looked into my everyday life you probably would not define most of it as good. BUT GOD in His grace, mercy, patience, and steadfast love chooses to use us for good works no matter how bad we think we screw everything up.
I believe that for us to get to the good works we find in verse ten we must take hold of the truth found in the preceding verses one through nine. We are saved through Jesus Christ and Him alone and not by our good works. Before Christ, we are dead in our sins. After we have received Christ, we are raised to a new life with Him. These verses tell us that all of this is because God is rich in mercy and His great love, kindness, and grace. It is when we allow Christ to do the good work in us, then the good works God prepared for us flows from our lives. Doesn't that beautiful truth make you want to sigh a breath of relief?!
As we discover these good works, I also believe we must ask ourselves, does it glorify God? In the part of the sermon on the mount where Jesus talks about being the salt and the light He tells us, “…let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 So do not hide the light within you, humbly walk in those good works and glorify your Father in heaven!
Good works become a service to others as well. One way we can serve others is to encourage them in their good works and through prayer. In Colossians one, Paul pens a powerful prayer for a church he has never visited. “And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Colossians 1:9-10. How much more should we be moved to cheer on our fellow sisters in the faith that we are face to face in our everyday lives?!
My prayer for you today is that you would have clarity in the good works God prepared for you. I pray that you walk worthy of the calling in which you have been called. I pray that you would bear fruit in all of your good works as you serve others and that our Father in heaven is glorified!