God’s Handiwork – by Steven C.

My wife really is an inspiration to me – I remember first falling in love with her by seeing how she loved Christ. It was by seeing her faith that I knew in my heart that I wanted to marry her so young. God knew that we needed each other so that we can continue our work on Earth for him, and this has been revealed to me time and time again. At the time it seemed crazy, and today it seems even crazier; but, time and time again, God has shown us how his will and his way really is divine beyond our understanding. We all have a tendency to put ourselves up on a pedestal, to view ourselves as the center of the story of life, but the Bible paints for us a different picture.

“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

– Ephesians 2:6-10

The Bible tells us we “are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good work, which God prepared in advance for us to do,” – Ephesians 2:10. This is both terrifying and inspiring, as it essentially gives us the meaning of life. We are to do good works! Not that we are saved by those works, but rather it is an expression of our faith and by extension our very selves. If we were to be saved by our works, then we would have reason to boast. We would be able to say it was our own ingenuity that led to our salvation, rather than total submission to our God. Following God is hard, it requires us to let go of our desires and our pride.

Growing mature in faith does not have to do simply by being weathered by the world, in fact I see it making us more and more cynical. For “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known,” 1 Corinthians 13:11-12. Rather, becoming mature is learning to love, learning to put others desires above our own.

We tend to think that this maturation and service to God can happen within the confines of our self-determined path of our lives. We want to dictate how this looks and when certain milestones are met. How foolish of us! God “raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” Why? So we can live comfortable lives in the American dream of a nice, comfortable home, a stable income, kids in a nice, safe neighborhood, with the next thing to look forward to a nice vacation? NO. It sounds preposterous to propose that the meaning of our lives is to be comfortable and complacent when God will seat us with him in the coming age! God didn’t create us for this purpose. Yes he does love us beyond comprehension so that he gave his only Son (John 3:16), but he will also raise us up “in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus,” Ephesians 2:7. We are a part of the love story that is God’s love for his son, and if God loves us to the point that we would give his son for us, how great should our response to be to carry out the will of God. The Bible is pretty clear about what happens when we serve – God is glorified. What an amazing fact to dwell on! God is glorified when we serve. Just saying that makes me want to find every opportunity humanly possible to go out and witness God’s glory!

I pray that God continues to stir in me to continue to live an uncomfortable life. I want to show others just how crazy faith can be, so that they can witness how faithful and great our God is. I want Christians to let go of our human desire for safety and “fairness,” but to zealously strive to do good works, even at the expense of themselves. I no longer want Christianity to be associated with the American dream, but rather for it be associated with people so radically transformed and selfless that they no longer belong to the world, but to God; for we “are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ,” Romans 8:9.

-Steven


 


Yesterday I got a text from my husband saying “I am drafting my anniversary present, I am writing a blog post for your blog”. All I have to say is that when I read this final draft my heart was so moved to praise and glorify God for the work that He is doing in our lives and for giving me a husband that loves Him more than he loves me. As I read each of my husband’s words I was encouraged, challenged and my perspective shifted once again. Beyond words, I am grateful that my husband’s anniversary gift is not to give me things that he knows will perish but to take the time to refocus my eyes and my heart on Him who matters, He who is more precious than anything I could have on this earth, Jesus Christ.

Love, thank you for loving our Savior Jesus Christ more than you love me. Thank you for leading me in living an ‘uncomfortable’ life to seek Him, know Him and serve Him. Thank you for humbly guiding me with your example.  Thank you for letting Christ take the lead of our lives and for following him to unexpected waters trusting that He will provide. Thank you for running this race faithfully by my side. Thank you for gently reminding me that my hope needs to be set on Christ – not you, not our future kids, not the ideal of our future home. Thank you for loving me with the love of Christ and for literally giving up your life and comfort to serve me.

I will follow you wherever you lead because I know that your eyes are set on Christ!

Four years of beautiful marriage and this is just getting better – can’t wait to grow old and wrinkly with you! Together until eternity babe, I love you!

April 18, 2014

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