For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
When you look in the mirror, what do you see? What is your image of yourself? Do you see yourself as God’s masterpiece, or a carefully crafted self-portrait, or as a cheap poster print?
Throughout much of my life growing up, I had a negative image of myself. There were many things I did not like about myself. I didn’t like having red hair and the complexion that goes along with that. I didn’t like that I was skinny (what was I thinking!!!). I saw myself as athletically challenged. Over all I viewed myself as mediocre at best. Praise God that others saw what I could not see and helped me to understand who God created me to be.
Paul’s statement in Ephesians 2:10 is a corrective to our often-skewed image of ourselves. He makes three amazing statements about who we are in God’s eyes.
We have been created with care. Paul says that we are God’s workmanship. The word “workmanship” can be translated “masterpiece.” We do not often view ourselves as masterpieces, at least I do not. When I look in the mirror, I see all of the flaws. It is hard for me, at times, to see beyond them. Yet, Paul tells us that when God looks at us He sees something very different. King David expressed this in Psalm 8:3-6.
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You made him ruler over the works of your hands;
you put everything under his feet:
Then in Psalm 139, David adds to the awe he felt, when he looked at himself from God’s point of view.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
When we devalue ourselves, we devalue what God has created. We dishonor God, by implying that God somehow made a mistake, or failed to do His best in our lives. When I worked in the hospital, I saw many newborn babies. In many ways, all newborns look alike, and they all are a little distorted, yet in the eyes of the parents, they are the most beautiful thing in the world. So it is with God. Others may look at us as less than beautiful, but God sees us as the most beautiful thing in His world.
We have been created with a purpose. Paul goes on the state that we have been created in Christ Jesus to do good works. Often as we watch a child grow up into an adolescent, and then into a young adult, we see great potential in them. We see certain qualities coming to the forefront that suggest success in certain areas of life. All of this reflects God’s guiding hand. Each of us was created with purpose and for a purpose. We were created to honor and glorify God by the way we live out our lives. We were created with unique skills and abilities that allow us to excel in different areas. As we understand more and more about how God has created and gifted us, we are drawn to the good works for which we were made.
Much of God’s creation is passive. It does what it does routinely, over and over again. Humanity is different. We do not live passive lives, but are actively involved in shaping and molding our world. We have been created in God’s image, and one of the ways that we demonstrate that is through our creativity. God made us for this purpose. As we actively engage in our world in good and positive ways, we reflect God’s glory into our world and we praise and honor Him.
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
We have been created with a plan. Finally, Paul states that God has already prepared a plan for us. It is not that our lives are scripted and we have no choice in the matter. That is fatalism. It does mean that God has set out a course of action for our lives. He has given each of us a meaningful assignment in His world. Many people never discover or fulfill that assignment. When we come to faith in Christ, God opens our eyes to begin to see His plan. As we learn to cooperate with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we start living out His plan.
One of the things that everyone wants in life is a sense of purpose. No one really wants to live an aimless life, yet many people do. God has given each of us a purpose. In general, we all have the same purpose; to glorify God. But, God has given each of us different ways to accomplish that. God knows us intimately, inside and out. He already laid out a plan for our lives. He invites us to discover and develop that plan. It is a cooperative effort.
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
Satan loves to discourage us. He wants us to feel worthless, aimless, and insignificant. But God sees us in a very different way. God sees us as His treasured possession; the object of His amazing love. When you look in the mirror, which image will you embrace?
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!