Did you know that you’re God’s masterpiece in the making? God didn’t save you just so He could take you to heaven. He has created you for so much more. He created you spiritually and physically different than anyone else because He has a specific and unique purpose for your life.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
God has a calling for you to accomplish the “good works” that He prepared for you to do that no one else could do. In fact, God has an assignment for you on earth with only your name on it!
But in order to accomplish those works and fulfill His purpose and goal for our life, first we need to know who we are in Christ. When we receive Christ into our lives, the Bible says we become a “new creation” and we have a new identity in Christ. We receive a spiritual inheritance as God’s adopted sons or daughters, and we are fully loved and accepted by God. There is nothing we can do to earn this. It’s solely by His grace that we are saved.
And as God’s children, we are expected to walk in a manner worthy of our calling that we’ve received, completely humble and gentle; being patient, bearing with one another in love. (Eph. 4:1-2)
Sadly, many of us have a new identity in Christ yet our lives don’t always reflect this. If you’re like me and you didn’t grow up in a Christian home, as soon as you were saved you came to the painful realization that accepting Christ into your life doesn’t automatically change all of your sinful thought patterns and behaviors. Just trying really hard to be godly doesn’t always produce lasting change.
So then how do we live lives in which our beliefs and our behaviors “line up” and fulfill God’s purpose for our lives?
God knows that, on our own, we are incapable of doing this. That’s why He has equipped us, both individually and as a church, and gave us spiritual gifts that He uses to transform us from the inside out.
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men. It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Eph. 4:7-8, 11-13)
Have you ever seen a painter or a sculptor creating a piece of art? To complete their work, they’ve got to have tools, right? In the same way, God is an artist who uses multiple tools and brushes in order to create and transform each one of us into one-of-a-kind masterpieces.
The tools God uses are the spiritual gifts that He gives to each one of us. They are the “paintbrushes” and “carving tools” that are deposited in us the moment we receive Christ. Although these are gifts and aren’t earned, we’re still responsible for discovering and developing them so we can figure out how and where God wants us to use them.
Then, as we live out our lives and use our gifts in authentic, loving community, each one of us becomes the “paintbrush” or “tool” in God’s hand that He uses to shape and grow others.
This week we’re beginning the series Your Divine Design. In it, we’re going learn about how we can discover, develop and deploy our spiritual gifts. We’ll discover how the gifts fit together, how they work and then how to use them. My prayer is that as we journey together in this exciting adventure, we’ll learn to walk in the good works that God prepared for us in advance.
Keep Pressin’ Ahead,
Chip Ingram, Teaching Pastor
Living on the Edge
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip