“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 (NASB)
While we read and think on this verse let’s be sure to notice that the emphasis is on God and His plans for us. It’s not on what we do for God but on what He does for us. When the verse speaks of our being created by God it really means our being born again – our re-creation because of what Jesus did for us. It is God who makes that happen and makes us His child and gives to us eternal life. That makes us the work of God – we are His workmanship. Good works cannot produce salvation but they are subsequent and the result of what God has empowered⸺they are the fruits and evidences of the salvation he prepared beforehand for each of us. Our sanctification as believers and our good works were ordained before time began (Ephesians 1:3–6). God has a purpose in this and it is that we will do what He gives us to do. We will tend to the work He gives us. Good works in our lives comes after His work in our lives. And all this was prepared and planned in advance. It is God’s plan that comes together for our benefit.
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. ” – John 14:15 (NASB)
“And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.” – 2 John 6 (NASB)
There are more than a few essentials that we need to know and understand if we seek to live our lives as Christians in a manner worthy of our Savior Jesus Christ. Honestly, don’t we actually have a tendency to avoid thinking too much about some of the essentials. One essential is loving God. Having been born of God and having received eternal life, God the Holy Spirit lives within our spirit. Jesus the Son of God is with us in Spirit as well. Now, here it is: Love for Christ is inseparable from our obedience. When Jesus says in John 14:15 “My commandments” these are not only Jesus’ ethical commandments in context (John 14:23-24), but the entire revelation from the Father. In his second letter John defines love, not as a sentiment or an emotion, but as obedience to God’s commands. If we are obedient to the truth as contained in God’s commandments, the fundamentals of the faith are identified as walking in love. There is no “falling in” and “falling out” of love with Jesus. There is only our love by our obedience to His Word exactly as He gave it to us.
“So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.” – 2 Corinthians 5:6-7 (ESV)
True believers in Jesus Christ are confident with respect to the future even though we do not know what the future is going to be in this world. It is the very presence of the Spirit in the lives of believers that provides this confidence with the promises of God. Eventually our time and life on this earth will come to an end, when it does, we will be with the Lord. Now we are at home in a world that is not our own and even our bodies will someday be done away. Also it means we not in the Lord’s presence physically. ‘Being at home’ and ‘being away from home’ refer respectively to being in one’s own country and being a stranger living abroad. In other words, the image of the external being that we observe, is passive and passing, while the internal provision of faith is active and abiding. We focus our attention not on visible things that are temporal but on those that are invisible and timeless. We live not by what we can see in this world but by the faith God has given us to believe.
“I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.” Ezekiel 36:27 (NASB)
The context of this promise was God speaking to His people Israel through His prophet Ezekiel. After having centuries of continual turning from God for pagan non-gods, now He was promising that one day He will do for them what they needed to follow His Way always. Those of us who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ have experienced a great change in our lives. God’s plan and promise is that when we believe in Jesus, God’s Holy Spirit is sent to live in us. When Jesus was on earth He made this promise and He mentioned several functions which He would fill. One of these promised functions is in today’s verse. The Holy Spirit is living in the hearts of believers to move us to obey the Lord. As we trust in Him, we learn to sense the impulse in us often to do what is pleasing to God. It may be through reading the Bible or hearing the Word preached that our hearts are stirred with the desire to do what God says He wants us to do in His Word. The stirring is the work of the Holy Spirit moving us to follow God’s will.
“…so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;…” – Colossians 1:10 (NASB)
In the letters written by the Apostle Paul, he often uses long compound sentences. Verses 9 through 12 is one sentence so continuing from yesterday’s consideration of verse 9 we now find the aim of Paul’s petition in his daily prayers. His prayer request was practical: in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord. A genuine knowledge of Christ reveals itself in transformed character, in Christlikeness. In Ephesians, Philippians, and both letters to the Thessalonians this exhortation is used. We are called to live our lives and walk in a manner worthy of God, of his calling us, and of other believers. How we live each day, what we think, say and do is observed by others and it reflects our dedication and conviction of God. Christ Jesus has saved us and called us to be a testimony to His Word. If we are walking worthy of the Lord, the promise is that we will please the Lord in all respects. We will bear fruit in all our good efforts at the work He gives us; our knowledge of God will be increasing daily which also pleases the Lord.
“Yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, And makes me walk on my high places.” – Habakkuk 3:18-19 (NASB)
Our verse comes from the book of Habakkuk. We find promises that are apropos to our times. On today’s social media, we may encounter a good deal of complaining about how “things aren’t how they used to be or should be.” And the appeal of many is “How do we get back to the way it was?” This was the prophet Habakkuk’s complaint. Sin was abounding (just as today) and God seemed both indifferent and idle to Habakkuk. He questions if it was God who was to blame? “Why do You make me look at injustice?” (Habakkuk 1:3 NASB) He doubles down with an even greater question for God: “Why do You tolerate wrong?” (Habakkuk 1:13 NASB) Does this sound like the cry of many modern Christians?. “Why is God allowing the destruction of our Christian country?” Mostly we blame the other side of the political divide. Habakkuk describes dire circumstances (v.16-17) for himself and Israel. But he doesn’t state that he would merely endure this distress. He sets our example and said he would rejoice in the Lord and be joyful. God is the inexhaustible source and infinite supply of joy. God my Savior is literally, “the God of my salvation”.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. ” – Psalm 23:4 (ESV)
In Psalm 23, which most people call the “Twenty-third Psalm,” we find our Good Shepherd being our protective shield wherever we go. Some of us have been where our lives have been at risk from nature and/or mankind. Others have faced a different kind of threat and have felt are deep in and under the shadow of evil forces, evil people. There is a valley of shadow for many who suffer from depression. David does not write ‘When’, he says “Even though I walk..” He knows because it is the way of life on this earth. David chooses and determines to NOT fear evil. The promise from God is that He is with us. He protects us from evil and the evil one with his rod. The rod was a club used by a shepherd as a defensive weapon. The staff was for guidance and a help in hilly, rocky areas. It was also a comfort to know it could be a defensive weapon as well as used to carefully control the sheep which had a tendency to go astray. God is fully able to keep us safe from evil and comfort us in all situations.