ENJOYING LIFE IN THE NEW YEAR
Ecclesiastes 11:9 says, “Young people, it’s wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do.”
It’s clear that God wants us to enjoy life. That’s what He says, BUT notice He gives us an important condition.
We must be able to substantiate everything we do to God, and depending on what we do, that could be a problem.
So, how can we be sure that what we do will be acceptable to God? Well, fortunately, the Scriptures give us some guidance. For example, let’s look at Ephesians 2:10.
“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 2:10 NLT
The passage starts by saying we are God’s masterpiece. A masterpiece is an original creation by an expert artist. It’s unique and has unusual beauty and application. Masterpieces are designed to be seen and appreciated. Unfortunately, many of us don’t see ourselves as masterpieces – even though that’s what God says we are. Instead many of us are unhappy with the way we are, and we often complain about it to God. Paul talked about this situation in Romans 9:20-21.
“No, don’t say that (Paul was talking to the Romans about questioning God). Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn’t he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into?”
Paul never minced words, and he always went right to the point. Here he’s talking about functions that God has designed each of us to perform. He’s not talking about our personal value. That’s already established by God. Remember we are masterpieces created by God. That’s true whether we are the President of the United States or a garbage man.
The Ephesians’ passage also says, “He has created us anew in Christ Jesus”. That’s the essential part of being God’s masterpiece. Being “created anew” means being “born again”. Being “born again” means being saved by God. It means accepting Jesus’ payment for our sins — so they can be removed. It means having the Holy Spirit come into our lives — so He can transform us into the image of God. That’s transformative work, and that’s why God says we are His masterpieces, because He is recreating us to be like Jesus.
God is doing this for a specific reason. He’s doing it so we can do good works. Notice the word “so” in the passage. It says, “He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, SO we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” In other words, God says we have to be “born again” to do the good works that He wants us to do.
We can see from this passage that God’s purposes for us are interrelated. His first purpose is to make us masterpieces. God wants us to be like Jesus. And as He changes us into the image of Christ — He puts us on display for all to see. God’s second purpose for us is to be “born again”. He wants to equip us to do the good works — which He has wanted us to do for all eternity. So being “born again” is central — to becoming a masterpiece — as well as being equipped to good works.
The question is how do we find out the work God wants us to do? There is only one way – we need to find out our spiritual gifts. Next week we will talk about how to do that. Until then, HAPPY NEW YEAR!