Have you ever created something? A painting or sculpture, crocheted a hat or a blanket? Have you ever made dinner or lunch for guests or just family? What about a cake – carefully crafted the icing to celebrate an important event? Maybe you’ve written an essay, turned in a report, prepared a speech for a conference, convention, bible study, 3rd grade class or business meeting. Perhaps you’ve held a piece of wood in your hands and envisioned a jewelry box or the beginnings to a table or chair.
Whatever the craft, each of these things were created for a purpose. Artwork is displayed on a window ledge or on a wall for others to observe and admire. Blankets and hats adorn our head and cover our cold bodies in the winter while we curl up with loved ones and watch a movie or read a book. Dinner is…well, eaten, yes in less than half the time it took to make it, but the food’s purpose was to nourish our bodies. Cakes are eaten also, but only after they finish sitting as a centerpiece decoration for the momentous occasion. Written projects may be turned in for a grade, or merely read, sometimes out loud and then digested through our minds and their applications eventually dispersed through-out our body. The carefully, delicately carved wooden jewelry box sits on a dresser and holds the sparkly diamonds and jewels we girls love to wear. Again, these things were created for a purpose.
And so are we.
We are God’s creation, designed with a purpose. What is that purpose? I’m glad you asked, because I’ve wondered the same thing!
Ephesians 2:10 says, “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
I wrote about the previous two verses in that Ephesians chapter last week in There’s Nothing Wrong with Vanilla! Being an ice cream/frozen yogurt (really any kind of food) connoisseur, I love the idea of a foundation of flavor, like chocolate and vanilla. Simple? Yes, just like our foundation of faith in Jesus. But, now that we have that foundation laid solidly, we’re ready to make some new flavors. Now remember, it’s not because chocolate & vanilla aren’t enough, but rather because they are perfectly enough, our lives now are sprinkled and drizzled with these extra qualities!
So what kinds of “good works” have been prepared for us to do? And does this mean that those who do more “good works” (have more sprinkles and caramel syrup) are better Christians than me?
2 Peter 1:5-8 says this, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
I see these like a nesting doll…
The itty bitty baby one is faith, then swallowing that one up is goodness, then you open the next one and find knowledge, the next one, self-control, then follows perseverance, kindness, brotherly kindness, godliness and finally to hold them all together, love.
I don’t know about you, but I would love to find a way to keep me from being and feeling ineffective and unproductive! And I don’t read anything in that verse about levels and anyone being better Christian than anyone else!
Think about the flavor difference added to our lives when life brings us a friend who’s let us down, who’s really hurt us. Because of my foundation of faith, I can choose to add some brotherly kindness and probably a shot of perseverance to meet this challenging relationship. Because of my faith, when life slaps me in the face, perhaps literally, or through a disappointment or a broken dream, I have the option to reach for the handle of God’s knowledge of the situation. He has all-knowing Sovereignty and I can ask for His self-controlto handle it. When my children drain every ounce of energy from me, I can choose to pull the lever of love, because of my faith, and add Jesus’ love to me.
As much as I love the simplicity of a chocolate and vanilla faith, I don’t think we’re meant to be bland Christians. We should be the most flavorful people anyone could meet! It’s not just anyone who can meet circumstances like those above with an attitude like I described. Why can we? Why does the Bible instruct us to? Because we were created with a purpose, and that purpose is to know God and make Him known. We get to know Him through reading His Word and prayer, then because we know Him, we make Him known… we show His love and character (those things we’ve learned) to others! That’s the flavor! Then people are left going, “Wow! I can’t believe she can love and forgive that person for what they did to her. How can I have that kind of love and peace in life?”
Well, I’m glad you asked. Let me tell you…You were created for a purpose!
Here’s a favorite song of mine from Steven Curtis Chapman called “Only One and Only You.” (click the title)