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A Word for this Week - Pastor Bill Mugnolo

Week of March 12-18, 2018: “In Advance” … Ephesians 2:10

“So, what am I going to do with my life?” How often might you have asked this question? You might have asked this over a career decision, over where you might live, as to how you might be in service to others, in even the wake of a huge disappointment. As you pondered this question you may well have had your share of many anxious thoughts, nights without sleep, and countless tears shed.

“So, what am I going to do with my life?” The good news is that Jesus Christ has already planned in advance what He would have you do (Ephesians 2:10)! You are literally His work of art that He, beyond the passion of even the great master artists, is consumed in bringing about. Unlike their paintings and sculptures, which hang and stand stationary, Jesus puts you, as His workmanship, into action as we are “created in Christ Jesus for good works”. While these works never save us (Ephesians 2:8-9) they are why God sets us up in certain jobs and in certain places in order to touch the lives of certain people. To do such good is, indeed, why we are still in the world (Matthew 5:14a, 16). These things have all been set up ahead of time, in advance, even from eternity itself that we, as Paul says, “would walk in them”.

But still we fret, worry, and cry as to what God would have us do with our lives. There are several reasons, I believe, why we do this: First of all, God’s Word, like the light from an ancient oil lamp (Psalm 119:105), gives us light so that we can see our life’s pathways just one step at a time. But we want to see the whole path unfold before us all in “one shot” and we are often unhappy when God doesn’t reveal the future to us in such a way.

Then, as it was for Peter, Paul, and all others who are in Christ, the pathway into the future involves many trials and sufferings (John 21:18-19, Acts 9:16). As a block of marble is chiseled out and as a clay pot in put into the kiln, so too, as God’s work of art, must we be “carved out” and “face the flames”. We’d rather it would be “all gain and no pain”. But Our Lord sees it otherwise (1 Peter 4:12-13).

Then, as we ask, “What am I going to do with my life?”, Jesus would have us know that it’s “not about you and what you want”: He has a greater purpose in mind as He looks to send you to where you can serve Him and others best for the sake of His Kingdom (Matthew 6:33). He would have us pray, as Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Not my will, but your will be done” (Luke 22:42).

From that garden, Jesus went on to become the greatest of all works of art as He painted the “canvass” of the cross with the red of His blood. By His cross and resurrection, we believe and find help during our times of unbelief (Mark 9:24). He then leads us into greater trust in Him for each step us the way for, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared in advance, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).


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