1357. God Prepared Beforehand

It’s time to stop dreaming up things to do for God and asking Him to bless them.

IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING

God Prepared Beforehand

Ephesians 2:10 explodes the myth that God expects us to dream up things to do for Him and then ask Him to bless our efforts. God expects us to be engaged in good works, but whose? Certainly not ours. God is the one who prepares these works, not us. It was God who planned to establish a new nation of people who would represent Him in the world. He prepared the way into which He called a man named Abram. It was also God who prepared the work He was going to do to bring His people out of Egypt. He brought Moses into His plans. Every time either of these two men determined on their own what they would do for God, it didn’t end well (Gen. 20:1-5; Ex. 2:11-15).

Paul had the Same Problem

Paul’s entire life before his conversion on the Damascus Road was all about him doing what he thought God wanted him to do. Then, all of a sudden, he discovered that he had been fighting against God and persecuting his real Master, Jesus. He had to undergo a complete reversal of his life. Now he was to enter into what God had planned for him.

AS I SEE IT

God is always at work to accomplish His plans (Jn. 5:17) but He calls others to join Him. Even Jesus looked to see what His Father was already doing and then joined Him (Jn. 5:19). This should be true for us, too. Yet, most of us began our Christian journey full of energy and enthusiasm to do great things for God. Then we asked God to bless our efforts. When our results fell short of our expectations, we became disillusioned and discouraged. Only when we were ready to give up did the truth break through. Only then did we understand what Jesus meant when he said,” Apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

An Encounter with God

Our Heavenly Father doesn’t come to us to hear about what we would like to do for Him. He leads us into a real-life encounter with Himself through which he reveals what He is already doing. Then He invites us to become involved in His work. This is the pattern we see throughout Scripture. The encounters with God were included in the ancient writings to give us hope today. They were written for our benefit (Rom. 15:4).

God’s Redemptive Plan

God doesn’t communicate with us simply to provide us with a warm devotional thought for the day or to increase our biblical knowledge. He is involved in the redemption of everything Satan has corrupted. He is restoring His kingdom and drawing people everywhere back to Himself, and we are to become His tender voice, His engulfing arms, and His feet, willing to go wherever He sends us.

God Gets our Attention

It all begins with an encounter. Have you encountered God in this way? Whether it was a tender moment, or an earth-shattering ordeal, God has to get our attention so we will listen. He wants us to know what He is doing so we can join Him, but we must be prepared for what will be required of us. We are about to be sent to the front lines of a great battle. Are we prepared to become a casualty of war? We had better be. In fact, this is a requirement for service. Are we willing to put to death everything in us that wars against God’s plans? Are we willing to deny ourselves and take up our cross so we can follow our Master into life’s battles? We had better be because this is part of the good works which God has already prepared for us (2 Tim. 1:8). Yet, in the end, it will be more than worth it:

…but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ,
keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory
you may rejoice with exultation.
If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed,
because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.
1 Peter 4:13-14

 

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