From our weekly e-Green church newsletter...
Pastor Spencer Bernard
It's easy to over-complicate the Christian life. There are endless debates and words written over the nuances of our faith. Sometimes it's helpful to simplify and remind ourselves of some of the basics. The Apostle Paul helps us out:
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:8-10 NLT
Ok, based on this verses here are some essentials to our faith..
You are a receiver, not an earner. As the hymn says, Jesus paid it all. Understanding and believing this chips away many negative things in us. For example, there's pride. How can we be prideful when we haven't earned what we have in Jesus? Or anxiousness. Why be anxious when Christ's work on the cross is perfect and complete? It also plants in us positive things such as thankfulness, humility and a foundation of joy. Breathe in and out deeply a few times and remind yourself. The pressure's off, Jesus paid it all. The Christian life begins at the finish line, not the starting line. You already have victory, now run the race!
You are dearly loved and valued. Imagine Van Gogh or Picasso looking at one of their paintings and thinking "Ah, yes..this is absolutely perfect." Imagine Bach or Beethoven hearing one of their compositions and knowing not a single note needs to be changed, or even could be changed without ruining the composition. That's how God sees you, because of Christ.
Remind yourself. Say a couple times out loud "because of Christ, I am God's masterpiece." Does it make you feel uncomfortable to call yourself a masterpiece? Than keep saying it. It's the truth!
Your purpose is good deeds. More than just your purpose, your abilities, desires and opportunities are not random. God planned these for you long ago. Stop and reflect on that for a moment.
God planned specific things for you to do!
It's by doing good deeds that we reflect God's glory back to him. It's also how we reflect his glory to others. Wondering what to do? Ask The Lord "Father, how can I serve you today?" I think he'll answer you if you really ask. But wait..
It gets even better..
Jesus once said we find true life by giving our lives away. In Proverbs it says those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. In other words, the way way we enjoy a rich a satisfying life is to contribute to others. God designed us for this, so we flourish when we do it.
So go flourish!