Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Influencers 1.

Some nuggets of gold that hit the mark in my heart and made a real impact. I'll start with one from the Bible. In a letter written to a group of Christians, Paul says:
Ephesians 2:20 
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Every time I read this verse it transports me. I can remember so clearly where I was. It was during a regular time of Bible reflection that I came across it. I was stumbling my way through Ephesians each morning, journalling my reflections on the bits that stuck out to me when I reached this verse one morning. It was at the end of one of my times, I had to be going to get ready for work but I couldn't leave. I felt as though I had been scaling the outside of a ship trying to board it and this was the moment I got a leg over the railings and suddenly I saw before me a huge ocean liner to be explored. This is a verse to build a life around. I could plumb its depths a long time and still not got my heart around it. It's fairly easy to understand but this is a verse, the truth of which wraps itself around your heart and coats you in a substance that stops you living in quite the same way again.

Communicating those moments on page through print to others is hard to do well and harder still to do succinctly so it's just as well that this blog is largely for me more than it is an audience...

What was is that gripped me that day that floods my memory every time I read it? It was this:
- Handiwork/workmanship
- created... to
- prepared... for us

Three simple ideas that ruined me.

A Christian is a new creation. This is key. People are very confused these days about what a Christian is and isn't and it seems to me that for the most part people interpret it to mean, and they use it to mean, whatever suits them best and requires the least change on their part. Jesus said that a Christian is someone who is 'born a second time' and Paul said that if anyone is in Christ (a Christian) they are 'a new creation.'

Christian = new creature, agree? When I became a follower of Jesus I didn't sign up to a new cause or tick a set of credal statements, I became remade. Spiritually I was raised to life and morally I was cleansed so that I became forgiven and acceptable to God. I amy not feel too different, I may not even behave too differently but I am different. This verse says that I have been made by God. I am God's workmanship. Before I go on, this much needs to be said - I display God's craftsmanship. Really? Have you seen me?

God remade me, God brought me into Christ and God has put his stamp of ownership and his signature of artistry on me. Every Christian can say 'I display God's artistry.'

But the second startling thing we discover in this thought is that I was created 'in order to...' God made me with a purpose in mind. Paul was right when he said that 'we do not belong to ourselves, we were bought at a price.'

Finally God made me to do the good works he prepared for me in advance to do. Good works are met with rewards in glory and in character and so I discover upon reflecting that God made me to reward me. I shall say that bit again. God made me... to reward me. This is consistent with the first idea that I display God's handiwork and craftsmanship. God is the ultimate artist and creative designer and so it follows that everything he makes, that he calls his own, that bares his signature, must live up to his idea for it. It should then follow that God would be committed to making me into a finished article and not leaving me as a new but stagnant creature.

New and improving by living-in-line with his design. That's what he's called me to do, to live in line with how he made me to be.

For we (all Christians) are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works which he prepared in advance for us to do.

That thought has made and continues to make a big impact on me.

2 comments:

Blog Administrator, Karen L. Brahs said...

I appreciate this post in more ways than one. It reminds me that I have a tremendous responsibility. Although I can't do anything to repay the magnificence of God's grace, I am required to fulfill it in every aspect of my life, to grow in the grace that's been bestowed upon me. This post is reminiscent of the book I am currently absorbing - J.C. Ryles "Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots". Highly recommended, if you haven't already read it.

Thank you, again. I enjoy your posts.

Jez Field said...

thanks Karen, I shall be sure to check out that book.