Thought for the Week - 23rd JulyPastor Gareth Watkins
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
The evolutionists would say that we come from the dust and return to the dust; that we’re just an incidental part of this world. This verse shows us that we are created by God and we are made by God with a plan and for a purpose, with a future and a hope! We are individually created for Him, for His workmanship to continue on in us as we go through life.
We are wonderfully made by God (Psalm 139:14). We are made for His workmanship to happen to, in Christ Jesus. And these things are prepared for us before we even existed. Does that make us precious to God? Yes it does!
People in this world often feel hopeless in life, worthless in life, and that life is not worth living. If you feel like that, know that God has made you! You were fearfully and wonderfully made for His workmanship to happen to, through Christ Jesus. You can go into these things that have been created beforehand. That workmanship lasts the whole of your days! There’s a reason for each and every one of us.
If we are not in Jesus Christ, we are not His workmanship; we are doing what we want to do. Naturally we’re rebellious and do what we want to do. But when we become Christians, we become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)! We therefore come under this workmanship for Him to change us into someone of use to Him. God can use every single person in His kingdom!
We are His workmanship in Jesus Christ. This workmanship continues in the plans that He has prepared for us beforehand! He prepared this workmanship before you were born! He knew you in your mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5), and even then knew His plans and purposes (Jeremiah 29:11) for you. We have been created in His workmanship, but we have to come in to God first.
Being saved is the beginning of it all! Being found in Christ is the beginning of God’s workmanship. We have been created in sin of our own doing – all that we’ve become needs to be re-crafted and made new. God does it and takes on to an abundant and fruitful life (2 Corinthians 9:8)! If we’re sinning and rebellious to God in the small details, it affects the great things that He has workmanship for in our life.
God says He is making us into a masterpiece!
When we complain about each other, we’re complaining about a masterpiece of God. God has made everyone, and is making everyone, into His person to fulfill His plans. None is righteous (Romans 3:10) except for Christ making us righteous.
The Greek word “poema” means God’s handicraft, God’s workmanship; God’s creation. When we go on our own way in life, we are not God’s creation. When we do our own thing, we’re not in His design. Through Jesus, God re-creates us. Can we re-create ourselves? No. We can change our hairstyle, live in a new place, but we can’t re-invent ourselves. But God can create us differently from the time we come to Him. God comes in and changes our heart, and our thinking. He works from the inside out, to make us a new being. God through Christ gives us all the tools and equipment to be changed.
Our reason for living is found in Him!
If we’re going to achieve what He wants to achieve, do you think that’s the best or worst thing for us? If we want personal satisfaction, a full and fruitful life, to be satisfied, to live the maximum potential of our life, then it’s only to be found in God. It’s only God who can bring it to pass, and it’s only God who has these plans for us. God’s interest is for us to achieve the maximum potential for the rest of our life. Therein are the blessings and promises that are there for each of us!
God doesn’t just show us a principle, He shows us how to achieve it.
In Romans 12: 1-2 we read:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,
that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God,
which is your reasonable service.
And do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,
that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
God wants to transform us by the renewing of our mind. Why does our mind need renewing? Because we’ve all learned things (whether voluntarily or involuntarily) that can depress us! The world filled with evil and there’s awful things out there that will invade our minds. If we’re going to be God’s masterpiece, then we need renewing. This shows us that there’s potential for us to be actively and practically changed! We should be all changing according to the likeness that God has put in us through Jesus Christ. We will change according to the renewal of our minds.
God doesn’t want to harm us or hurt us. He intends for us to have a blessed and fruitful life. That life starts with us. We read that we need to present ourselves as a living sacrifice to God. If we want the things that God has set for us, we have to bring ourselves where we will put ourselves on the altar of God. It’s down to you and me.
Sacrifice effectively means something dead. In the Old Testament, the lamb would be placed dead upon the altar. If we’re putting ourselves on the altar, we have choices. We can choose to hold back and effectively be alive on the altar. That’s not placing all of ourselves on the altar! This is the working of God’s principles. We have to say that we are Christ’s, we are new and will not hold anything back from Him. God wants us to be a living sacrifice. That sacrificial living allows God to make us into the masterpiece that He wants us to be on a daily basis. If we want the higher standards from God, we have to come back to the practical ways of how we do it. This allows God to work on us and change us so that we can fulfil His plans and purposes; so that we can be satisfied; and that we can be His representative on earth.
If we live according to a higher set of standards and principles which are Godly and laid out before us, our purpose for living is not without meaning. It’s part of God’s plan! Each one of us play our part in the kingdom of God! The deadness of us to ourselves brings something of beauty under God, and something that lasts under God.
The New Living Translation of Romans 12:22 says:
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world,
but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.
Then you will learn to know God’s will for you,
which is good and pleasing and perfect.
God will show us if we’re holding something back; it makes us feel uncomfortable. We know. We’re meant to present ourselves as dead to these things so He can live through us. How many people don’t know God’s will for them? We will know what is good! We can live a life that’s pleasing and good to God.
This process of being made into God’s masterpiece is the miracle that Christ Himself brings to us. There’s a transaction between us and God, through Christ, that changes our life and transforms our mind to see what is good, pleasing and perfect to God, and to know His will.
We can be God’s instruments for change! We can be God’s workmanship!
Are you holding out for God in this way, or are you holding back? Are you holding on to rebellion or refusing to yield to God? Present your life with all its sins and wants, lay it all as a dead sacrifice before God; that His workmanship will be done in you. Trust Him that you will know His path and what is acceptable to Him; that your life won’t be wasted.
Hudson Taylor wrote that “Cross-living men are needed”. We read in Matthew 16:24 “take up his cross and follow me”. The people who take themselves onto their own cross achieve things; their natural lives might be sacrificed, but their spiritual lives bring forth fruit in abundance. Hudson Taylor strapped himself to his own cross, but God’s workmanship went out into China and the biggest missionary work in the world was established!
Will you put yourself as a living sacrifice and see God as the workman of the new life He’s got for you?