Word for the Week
Short reflections on Bible passages, with a frontline focus...
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
The transition journey has taken us through the initial signals of change, choosing to end well, and then feeling at sea, disorientated. As we approach the fourth stage of the transition journey, reorientation, it is understandable to want a comforting sense of arrival – of settling into a new normal. And this may be the case… for a while. But as a Christ-follower, called to an unpredictable life, and in the current context where change is the new normal, this may well be wishful thinking!
Through all the changes, our identity in Christ is unchanging. Paul writes that we are ‘God’s handiwork’, with connotations of artistic design, carefully shaped by the master craftsman. The transition journey can be part of his shaping if we allow God, through the sometimes-painful experience of change, to cut off all that was deadening, or prune where necessary. He does this in love, to prepare us for a new season of growth and good work.
For many of us, lockdown has provided an opportunity to examine our pre-Covid lifestyle. We may have recognised with Henry David Thoreau, ‘It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: what are you busy about?’
We were created for both purposeful activity and rest. Paul describes this purposeful activity as ‘good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do’. He is unlikely to be referring to some amazing new job opportunity: many of those in Ephesus, and especially slaves, would have had few career options. These ‘good works’ are more likely to refer to the areas he goes on to detail: expressing love and honour in our relationships, training our children, working as if we were serving the Lord whatever our role, withstanding the enemy’s attack, and praying in the Spirit with every type of prayer and intercession. All these are God’s incredible invitation to partner with him in his plans and purposes. He chooses to act through his people. As John Wesley said: ‘God does nothing on the earth save in answer to believing prayer.’
All of this is fuelled by the knowledge of the breadth, length, height, and depth of God’s love for us, demonstrated on the cross. It’s a love that leads and guides us forward. It’s a love which provides a firm foundation when all else is changing.
Prayer Journeys Project Leader, LICC