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Friday, September 21, 2018

God Shaped Me for Service

In review of Ephesians 2:10 it says, ”God made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to live our lives doing” (NCV).

Today’s verse comes from Ephesians 2:8-10. In it I’m told that because of his kindness, I have been saved through trusting Christ. And even trusting is not of myself; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good I have done, so I can’t take any credit for it. It is God himself who has made me what I am and given me a new life from Christ Jesus; and long ago he planned that I should spend my life helping others.

When I'm given a gift, I don't say how much do I owe you, rather an appropriate response is "thank you". However, from time to time I still feel an obligation to try to work my way to God. Because my salvation and even my faith are gifts, I should respond with gratitude, praise and joy. I became his child through God's unmerited grace, not as the result of any effort, ability, intelligent choice, or even act of service on my part. However, out my gratitude for this free gift, I need to seek to help and serve others with kindness, love, and gentleness, and not merely to please myself. While no action or work I can do can help me obtain or maintain salvation, God's intention is that my salvation will result in acts of service. I am not saved merely for my own benefit, but to serve Christ and build up the church. I am God's masterpiece. My salvation is something only God can do. It is his powerful, creative work in me. If God considers me his masterpiece, I dare not treat myself or others with disrespect or as inferior work.

Given this, it’s clear that God shaped me to serve him. The Bible says, “God made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to live our lives doing” (Ephesians 2:10 NCV).

Before I was born, God had already decided what contribution he wanted me to make with my life. God didn’t put me on this planet just to take up space, to use resources, and to die. He put me here to serve him by serving others.

And nobody else can be me. If I don’t serve God the way he intended for me to serve him, then the world misses that part of the jigsaw puzzle.

Another name for good works is ministry. Anytime I use my talents and abilities to help somebody else, I’m actually ministering to them. The Bible says in 1 Peter 4:10, “God has given each of you some special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others God’s many kinds of blessings” (TLB).

The talents I have are not for my benefit. God gave me talents for the benefit of others. That’s why nobody’s got it all together. God wired the universe so that we would need each other.

When I get to heaven, I’m going to love God, so he wants me to practice now. I’m going to love other people in heaven, so he wants me to practice now. I’m going to grow spiritually in heaven, so he wants me to practice now. And I’m going to serve God in heaven, so he wants me to practice now.

I serve God by serving others. On Earth it’s impossible to serve God directly. The only way I can serve God on Earth is by serving others. So anytime I help somebody else, God says it’s like I’m doing it for him. I’m practicing on Earth what I’m going to do for eternity.

Bottom Line:
Because of his grace and kindness, he saves us. It's nothing that we did or could do. He has a plan for each of us for good and to help others.

What this means to me:
Because of His kindness and grace, he has saved me. This is not a result of anything I did or can do, so I can't take any credit for it. God planned for me to do good things and spend my life helping others.

In summary, God has shaped me for service. I have been saved through my trust in Christ, and Jesus’ sacrifice and leadership is God's gift to me. He has shaped me and it is His plan that I would spend my life/shape helping others. My love and service to others is practice for what I'll be doing in eternity.

This morning I want to take a few minutes to thank you and show my gratitude for your gift to me. I want to use my life for your purposes. I pray for your help to allow me to focus on this and not allow myself to be distracted by the worries of this life. Help me to be a leader who can serve and guide others. Help me think clearly about the multitude of tasks before me. Help me to sort them clearly and to then guide and direct others in those tasks. Also Father I was for your wisdom and guidance in handling people in a loving and caring manner. I know that I need to show appreciation and make people feel valued. I pray these things in your Son Jesus name, Amen!