It’s been a couple of weeks since I have written anything. It’s not that I haven’t had things to say, rather I’ve been in one of those cranky moods where it’s better just to keep your mouth shut! However, I think I’m on the back-end of it so I’ll take a chance and put some words down today.
In my crankiness I kind of ranted during both my Adult Sunday school class and my Wednesday night Bible study this past week. During the past several weeks the Sunday school class has watched Craig Groeschel’s Alter Ego and Chip Ingram’s Divine Design. Both deal with being the person God created you to be so you can do the things God created you to do. Watching these series has created a very strong reaction in me.
The basis of my ranting is coming from Ephesians, specifically Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Here’s the news flash friends: God created you on purpose to do good works He planned for you to do before you were born. You are not here on accident and you are not here simply to live out your lives any way you want to. God put you here for His good purpose to do His works to further the Kingdom of Heaven.
I spent most my life being what is called a “nominal” Christian. I believed that Jesus Christ was my Lord and savior but I didn’t attend church; I didn’t live a Godly lifestyle; I didn’t follow the commands of Jesus; I didn’t do things to glorify God; I simply was a believer but to the casual observer there was no way to tell. My life looked as secular and “normal” as any non-believers.
Like the Israelites I spent 40 years in the desert. It took me 40 years to realize that God created me for His purpose not my own. And when I realized that it absolutely changed my life!
So last night in Wednesday night Bible study I asked the group to tell me if they had any goals for their Christian walk. For the most part the answers were pretty standard: “I want to be more Christ-like.” And “I want my life to glorify God.” Okay, so what? What do any of those churchy words and phrases me? What are you going to actually do in your life to be more Christ-like or glorify God?
Anyone who has been in business knows the “so what” question. The concept is simple – we talk a lot about a lot of stuff but so what? What does it actually mean? What does it actually do? There is so much empty talk about there – even in Christian circles – that someone has to stand up and ask, so what? Does any of this mean anything? My frustration comes from the fact that for the American Christian church I’m not sure it does!
Our pastor shared a couple of weeks ago that 76 percent of Americans say they are Christians; 16 percent attend church, meaning a minimum of 60 percent are nominal Christians. And there is no guarantee that those attending church are not actually on fire doing the thing God created them to do. That is a pathetic showing for those who claim Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
Romans 12:1 tells us to not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of our mind. American Christians must have missed this verse because we divorce at the same rate as non-believers; have as many extra-marital affairs as non-believers; we commit crimes at the same rate as non-believers; we look just like they do because we’ve conformed to the pattern of this world. And we like it that way!
God has something better for you than that! But you MUST embrace this idea that you were made for God not the other way around!
Do you want to be more Christ-like and glorify God with your thoughts and actions? Then you need to stop doing the things you’re doing and start doing the things God created you to do! He has work for you that He planned out before you were born! It’s time to change your life and start working for God!
Are you asking yourself, “How do I figure out what God created me to do?” Good question and here’s the answer: First pray and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal your purpose to you. Next, take a piece of paper and a pen and draw three columns. In the first column list your spiritual gifts – the things that God gifted you to do when you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior and you were baptized by the Holy Spirit. If you don’t know your gift, get online and do one of those Spiritual Gift surveys – they’re not the best way but it is a quick way to determine some gifts. If you’re REALLY interested in your gifting go to your pastor and ask him/her what he/she thinks your gifts are.
In the second column write down all the things you are good at doing – both things that come naturally to you and things you have learned to do throughout your life.
In the third column list things you can do for God based on your spiritual gifts, your innate skills, and your learned skills.
Pray again to see if God is indeed asking you to do the things in the third column. If the answer is yes, then you need to make those things the absolute priority in your life. No exceptions!
Jesus promises an abundant life. The Father tells us that He has plans to prosper us and not harm us. We know from experience that we are blessed when we do the Father’s work and obey the commands of Jesus. So what is holding you back? Can you imagine what the world would look like if the 2 billion Christians on this planet actually did the things God created us to do? It can start with you!
Jesus taught us to pray by saying, “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. They kingdom come they will be done on Earth as it is in heaven.” Our job is to do the Father’s will here on Earth as it is in heaven. Brothers and sisters are you with me on this? Are you willing to throw off the chains of the pattern of this world and be supernaturally transformed through the Holy Spirit to be the person God created you to be?
Tom, I really appreciate how forceful and direct you can be when raising issues. What a challenge! A constant challenge, actually. It’s like a manager asking an employee if the employee has reached his/her maximum potential. The honest answer, for all of us, would seem to be invariably “no.” There is always room for improvement. For me, one of my barriers is that I sometimes hesitate, wondering if I have enough discernment in a given situation to push enough, but not so much that it becomes counterproductive or ineffective, if that makes any sense. Thanks for reminding us!
Great post! That writing break due to ranting and crankiness sure done didja good to write this post. Much of what you’ve stated here I think about often, as I’m quite an anti-social person, which makes me a closet Christian too, I guess. Agreed on many of your points. But your suggestion to make a 3 column list of gifts doesn’t really do me much good (a wonderful tool for others, I’m sure; but just not for me), as I have YET to discover what the heck I’m good at. Really, I have no idea and neither do my family! Carumba. Anyhow, I’m glad that I had come across your blog today, cuz I enjoy reading your writing and the way you’ve put stuff down in plain ‘ole words and not with biggie words, which helps folks like me understand whatcha sayin’ much more easily. Will share.