I just love how one of the most quoted Scriptures of all time builds to a climactic cliffhanger, as though heaven is awaiting our response.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”—Ephesians 2:8-10
Reflection I just love how one of the most quoted Scriptures of all time builds to a climactic cliffhanger, as though heaven is awaiting our response. You see, after establishing that we’re saved by grace and not by works—but that we are created for good works, it builds this profound picture of God preparing works beforehand.
Think about it: the God of heaven literally preparing hearts, events and situations before we even walk into the room or pass that by person or make that phone call. Then the Scripture peaks with this profound statement: “that we should walk in them.” Walk in what? The works! Which works? The works He has already prepared for us!
You mean, we have a choice? Yes! It doesn’t say, “you will walk in them.” It says “you should.”
The stage has been set by Heaven, prepared beforehand. And now we have a choice to partner with God Almighty. So, what does that look like? I’m glad you asked.
I am, of course, growing in this myself and I haven’t yet arrived, but here is an example from my life in the last week that encouraged me, and I pray it will encourage you too.
So, last week I was picking up some carpet squares from a church that was moving location and selling many items. As I was putting the carpet squares in the car, a lady walked past with someone from the church. She had seen some items on the internet and didn’t even know this was a church. She asked me about the carpet squares and I sensed she may not be a Christian so I asked her a simple question. Are you from this church? She said “no.” So I said, “Well then, I get an opportunity to tell you that Jesus loves you!”
The church staff member looked surprised that I even mentioned the ‘J’ word to a stranger. But, at that moment her eyes shot open. “My ten year old son just said while we were driving here, “Mum, do you think Jesus is real?” I then prodded cheekily, “And do you?”
“Well, I’m not sure,” she replied. I went on, “Well, what do you think the chances are of me telling you about Jesus just moments later?” To this she agreed that the timing couldn’t be a coincidence, and this in turn led to her inviting me to share the Gospel and pray for her and her son. They were deeply impacted, and I gave them some video links from our YouTube channel The Normal Christian Life.
The kid was excited because he was meeting a “YouTuber” in his words, and seemed keen to watch the videos. Now, they didn’t give their lives to Jesus there and then, but I know seeds were planted. But what struck me was how God had prepared their hearts just moments before I shared with them, even allowing her boy to ask such a specific question about Jesus, just before they arrived.
I wonder how many amazing works God has prepared beforehand for you today. What a blessing to be able to partner with Heaven and respond with our free will and walk in them.
Prayer Lord, today, help me to draw close to you in my prayer life and in my day-to-day life. Help me to be sensitive to your prompting, and help me to walk in the works you’ve prepared for me. Lord, thank you that you love me and value me enough to make me a part of Your story. Show me today the people you want me to reach. Prepare their hearts and help me to be bold and obedient. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
31 Days Prayer Points
1. Pray for five people and share the Good News of Jesus with them.
2. Pray that God would use His people to reach one billion people this May.
3. Pray for an end to the coronavirus pandemic, both in Australia and globally.
Nathaniel Oliveri is an evangelist with a long history in media and TV production. He is the founder and CEO of The Normal Christian Life, and is on staff at Glory City Church in Brisbane.
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