Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.”
My dad went through a spell where he was very serious about woodworking. At one point, his hobby had overtaken our garage completely, and resulted in several pieces of furniture that filled our home. One of the few things I saved from my childhood was a wooden barn that he had created for my Breyer horses (or Barbies, depending on the day). The cool thing about the barn, was that as a child, I helped with the design. The idea that since it would be for my purposes and use, it should be created to function and contain in all the ways I wanted. I could imagine that if he wanted to build something awesome, he could have forgone some of my suggestions and tried some design plans of his own. The problem though, would exist that even though it may look cooler, it would not perform authentically as I intended. And so, he stuck to the plan I originated, and he created the play barn that I have passed down to my children.
Can you imagine if we were trying to have a discussion with our Lord about building ourselves up for his purpose? Sounds audacious, right? But yet, sometimes that is exactly what we do. “Well God, I know that if X, Y, or Z, happened, it would be a great way to use things to your glory…” – We will “use” God to justify our wants, plans, and attitudes. It happens quite subtly really, any not with any ill-intention. Just the simple thought that since he is making us new, he must be making us new in a way that makes sense. But that’s just it, he is, but in a way that makes sense to him, not us (Is. 55:8-9).
In him you are also being built together for God’s dwelling in the Spirit.
Hear what that is saying… not only are you being built for his purpose, but you communally are being built for his Spirit. Meaning that you and all the believers are a “building”, with Christ as the Cornerstone (yes, just like the song 😊). The overarching plans for the individuals make it possible for them to link up and create the whole of the “building”; the unity established in us through Christ.
Sometimes those things that don’t seem like they would fit in with what you would choose for yourself are for the greater purpose of building unity for the Holy Spirit’s dwelling. Eph. 2:21, “In him the whole building, being put together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.” I love that it says, “grows”. It establishes the visual of more and more being incorporated into the building, and it is getting higher and more functional. I would LOVE to be more functional for our Lord. But these verses seem to indicate that it is best if I don’t put my two-sense in about how to get there. The blocks don’t build themselves into a building, just as we don’t build ourselves up for our God.
So, my thought today? Let God be the stonecutter, and builder of his Holy Temple. As for me? I am a member of God’s household, saved by grace and being created anew according to his purpose… and if I get a wonky corner-cut, then Praise God, it is for his glory and the continued building of his Holy Spirit’s dwelling place.
Have you ever seen a camel run? It’s pretty funny; they look a hot mess.
There was actually an episode of a tv show years ago that it reminded me of – two of the main characters found that they both love to run in Central Park, so they decided to run together. It was a nice idea until they discovered that they both ran very, very differently. One ran with steady breath, and rigid arms timed with her leg movement, and she made a whoosh-whoosh (obnoxiously so) noise every time her feet hit the pavement. The other ran with arms flailing, free-spirit, and jagged steps (quite frightening to the other park-goers who probably thought she was about to attack!). The point in their story, was that they were both embarrassed of the other, but yet didn’t see how off their own styles were. Similar to our own Christian walk (or run)- how often are we concerned with how others are performing their run?
Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed - that exhilarating finish in and with God…
It is so incredibly important that we keep our eyes on our Lord. He knows where he’s going- where we want to go too! We don’t have any place in our faith for distractions- yet the world around us is full of them. Now, back to that camel…
Matthew 19:16-24 tells of a rich young ruler who was asking Jesus about eternal life. After Jesus responds to him about selling all his possessions and returning to follow him, starting in verse 22 we read this:
That was the last thing the young man expected to hear. And so, crestfallen, he walked away. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn't bear to let go. As he watched him go, Jesus told his disciples, "Do you have any idea how difficult it is for the rich to enter God's kingdom? Let me tell you, it's easier to gallop a camel through a needle's eye than for the rich to enter God's kingdom."
Now that you’ve seen that camel galloping, do you understandthe picture he is trying to paint? We, in our own humanity trying to earn our way with God, are even on our best day, simply all over the place. And, did you hear what the girl said to the camel at the end of the video? “That was too scary, I didn’t want to get anywhere near you” … hmm. Something to think about if we are trying to reach others for Christ. The rescue for us, comes in the next verse after the disciples asked, “what chance do any of us have?”:
Jesus looked hard at them and said, "No chance at all if you think you can pull it off yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it." (Matt. 19:26)
Consider for a second, if rich doesn’t mean moneyed, but plentiful. “He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn't bear to let go” … what are you holding on to, that breaks your heart to let it go?
The phrase “give up the ghost” comes to mind, a bit un-context, but if all the things of this world are going to pass away, then free up your hands, grab tightly to God! He will never disappoint. And besides, who wants to run like a camel anyways?
what is "spark"?
Its a small thing - like the flash on a spark plug that hopefully ignites something bigger to propel you forward.
Niki is a wife and mother of 2 children. She lives in Charlotte, NC where she enjoys everyday moments that ignite her relationship with our Lord and Savior.