Sunday, November 11, 2012
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)
The actual word that’s used for “handiwork” in the Greek is poiema, which is where we get the word “poem.” Isn’t that amazing? The creator of the universe created you like a poet sits down and composes thoughts to create a work of art. How special you are! It is true: God doesn’t make junk.
Our video this morning challenges us to be brutally honest with ourselves…Yes, it encourages us that God does not make junk…At the same time it forces us to see ourselves as God see us – warts and all.
We are not on this planet by chance. God created each one of us for a purpose. Paul compared our life purpose to a race and called us to be encouraged by those who have gone before us in the race and to give our best. He also said that sin is something that can trip us up and keep us from doing our best in the race. Our job is to run and avoid the sin.
In living out our purpose, we may grow tired of “running” and feel like we can’t do it. That’s why we have a goal on which to fix our eyes—Jesus Christ, who came to the earth to live a perfect life and die on the Cross for our sins. Jesus set the perfect example for us to follow. God knows that we will not understand everything in our lives. We may be asking right now, “Why, God? Why?” We may not get the answers we want and certainly may not understand them.
However, God wants us to be encouraged and understand that if we’re experiencing God’s discipline, then it’s for our own good because God loves us. Good parents discipline their children because of love. They’re training and teaching the children because that’s best for them. God is the same way. The book of James says the “testing of your faith produces perseverance,” so you should “consider it pure joy…whenever you face trials.” I know it sounds crazy, but try to remember that God wouldn’t discipline you if God didn’t love you and believe in you.
Paul wrote to the Hebrews: “Our parents disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:10-11)
In the end, we will be more like Christ because of God’s discipline. God is in the process of using discipline to chisel away everything that doesn’t look like Christ. You see, ultimately our purpose on this planet is to bring glory to God and show the world what God looks like. If God is disciplining you, God has great plans for you.
Remember: God expects those who follow Jesus to look more and more like him from the inside out. When a person is given new life in Jesus, that person has taken the first step toward a lifetime of change, which at times can seem pretty painful. It can seem as though God uses a hammer and chisel to chip away at and shape our lives so we can become the people God longs for – true followers of Jesus. This chipping away and shaping is known as the process of sanctification. Our sanctification in Christ is a big part of our walk, and we need to pay attention to it. The chisel of God is painful but certainly productive for a transformed life. The result is a life lived for the purpose and pleasure of God. The greatest gift God gives us is salvation in Jesus Christ. When we accept God’s gift, we have eternal life. But God doesn’t expect us to sit back and cruise through the rest of life. God expects salvation to be worked out in us for the rest of our days. The longer we live as followers of Jesus, the more our lives should look like his because of God’s work in us. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…Amen.
[Thanks to The Skit Guys for this wonderful teaching and the great video representation. We use it here with permission and gratitude. This is a lesson that never ceases to get to me personally and cause me to take another look at myself through God’s eyes.]