I have had several individuals who know me describe me as more cerebral than emotional. From the inside, this doesn’t feel right, but I understand how they can say that. I have degrees in engineering and statistic, which would imply more cognitive than emotive. However, much of my childhood would best be described as impulsive and free-spirited. And I loved the classes in all my schooling which weren’t cut and dried content.
Much of my walk with Christ has also been formed through the study of God’s word and the books I have read. I have grown in my understanding of the faith and my walk with Christ more from a cognitive perspective. I am more of a thinker and that is okay. It is one of the ways I am uniquely made. My growth history and profile may look very different from others. This is what Paul is telling us in Ephesians 2.8-10.
8-9For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
The first two verses (8 & 9) clearly describe the foundation of a new life in Christ and verse 10 describes the result of this new life. We are told that we are a masterpiece (one-of-a-kind novel), for which he has designed good workings that only each of us can do. No one else can do the things that God has designed for you to do.
I find it interesting how often we get the foundation and the result mixed up. So many people try to work enough for God to be accepted by him and never experience the freedom of being who God created them to be. Rather, this passage clearly asserts there is nothing you can do to earn God’s approval, but as you accept his gift of new life in Christ by faith, then you experience a quality of life that enables you to BE who he really created you to be.
Think about it. You didn’t come into a new life to get into heaven. The gospel isn’t about fire insurance. I know that may upset some of you reading this, but as you experience freedom that results from this gift of God, called grace; you are free to be the unique person and do unique things that only you can do.
Think of how many cool things this world has missed because people never embraced their distinctive role here on earth. They didn’t engage with God to do and be who he created them to be. So what exceptional workings does God want to do in and through you? Long ago, I realized this doesn’t mean everyone else will notice. Quite to the contrary, it may only be between you and your Lord. But he will know and so will you.
You are God’s plan A. God has no plan B. There is no backup for you.
Read verse 10 again.
God has designed you into the very fabric of this universe. God did this by intentionally putting into you some very very unique characteristics that you don’t share with anyone else. AND because of the irreplaceable nature you possess, he wants to walk with you in life (this present life and beyond) working in ways that are specifically designed for you. You will be able to do things no one else can do! You will be able to be someone no one else can be!
I would contend (along with Dallas Willard, CS Lewis, and many others), that these exclusive attributes of yours will follow you into eternity. You are just going to sit on a cloud playing a harp, but rather doing what only you are equipped to do.
Wow, only this can give eternal value to each of us in Christ.
Next week I want to talk about what is not okay with being unique. I wished some people could really celebrate their uniqueness, while I wish others wouldn’t expect or export their unique perspective onto others.