Recipe for Life: 3 parts “God”, 1 part “You”

August 4, 2007 at 11:35 pm 7 comments

Last week in Church, a visiting speaker referred to Eph 2:10 “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do“, and talked about how we need to do our part in His Kingdom. This thought has been on my mind all week, and I thought about how this could be a four-part recipe that we can use for living “Life”.

First, let us break down the verse to see it’s four parts: First of all, “we are God’s workmanship.” Second, we are “created in Christ Jesus to do good works“and thirdly, these “good works” are activities that “God prepared in advance” and finally, and of equal importance these works are “for us to do“. Psalm 139 (parts of v 14 and 16) says this all so well: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb… All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (The fact that the same Spirit that inspired King David way back to sing this song did inspire St. Paul as well – the message is consistent!)

That I am God’s own handiwork boosts my confidence immensely: Confidence not only in myself and my God given abilities and gifts, but confidence that God’s handiwork is always flawless and purposeful. However, you do need to keep in mind that not all of us are created the same. Paul provided this differentiation in I Cor 12: 14, 18-19 “Now the body is not made up of one part but of many..But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be?” (In fact this whole chapter compares a human body and the interaction of it’s members with that of the Body of Christ – further discussion probably in another post) 🙂 The fact is this: God knew what He was doing when He created you and me. You and I have all we need to do His work, and we need to work together with what we have been given to get the job done!

On the second part, I was wondering about why these good works were “created in Christ.” I am reminded that I am not saved by “good works”, but by His Grace as shown though Jesus Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross for me (and you). All the “good works” that are outside of Christ are just that – good stuff, but nothing that can stand eternally. See my post on what we can take into the next world. I am reminded (and need to be constantly and continually reminded!) that what I do needs to be created and directed by Christ. In the words of the same St. Paul (I Cor 9:26) “… I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.” And as Paul did, so do I need to press on in Christ – (Phil 3:13-14) “.. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Thirdly, I am reminded that although I am going to be surprised by what Tomorrow brings, God is NOT! He has already planned out my Tomorrow, the Day After and on through Eternity. The prophet Jeremiah knew this well: In Jer 29:11 he stated God as saying “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” The kicker in this oft-quoted verse is this though: In verse 10, God talked about when this would happen – “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place“. The prediction (and thus Hope) was not just for that generation, but for the next. God prepared not only my steps, but the steps of the generation that comes after me. Not only do I have this Hope, my children and their children do too!

Now that God has done His part, it all comes down to me (and you!) The last part of the verse is very clear:  “… which God prepared in advance for us to do” All this preparation comes to naught if we don’t participate! I remember well the time when my children were young and we used to put 100-piece puzzles together. It was hard for a five-year and an almost three-year old to make sense of 100 pieces, but they had a challenge, a reference  (the final picture – the expected end result), disparate pieces that fit together  to make parts of the picture, lots of time and enthusiasm, and finally parents that helped them when they were stuck and frustrated. They used to do it well, and there was joy all around when the job was done.

Similar to this simple family affair that united father and son, and mother and daughter, we are those children that God wants to interact with in this huge million-piece puzzle called “Life”. He wants us to put this puzzle together along with Him – We do it, and He provides help. His final complete “picture” is already recorded in His Word. The solutions, methods, advice, solace and indeed “Instructions for Life” that we constantly need is already provided for. If we do not know His Word, we will never know what His Plans are. If we are to try and put Life together without Him, we will never be able to make it on our own. He is by our side when we are about to give up in frustration. He sets everything up, but needs us to do our part….

Unknown to the children, we (the parents) had a larger purpose in this puzzle building activity. I am not sure why we chose this type of activity, but we probably wanted the children to build problem-solving and team-player skills, persistence and patience, self-confidence and dexterity. But God is deliberate in His Plan for us: he wants us to build the same characteristics, and ultimately, bring every living person into the same saving Grace that we ourselves have encountered. However, His Plan can work only when all the ingredients are present and work together. Like a good recipe, every part, including you and me are essential.

God has already set up three-fourths of the Great Commission. Can we add our one-fourth and complete the puzzle? This recipe needs You to become complete. Will you join in?

Here’s praying you do!

John Kanagaraj


Entry filed under: Nature of God, Nature of Man.

The value of “physical training” A death, a resurrection and many other events in between

7 Comments Add your own

  • […] seems hopeless. He needs us to act even when we may have doubts. We are an essential part of the recipe for the Life he has in store for us and we need to act on His command, even when it doesn’t make sense! […]

  • 2. The Gap between intention and action « Letters from a Layman  |  September 13, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    […] as I mentioned in the post on “Recipe for Life“, we have to do our part. Making the effort to change involves first determining what needs […]

  • […] Because I take the same route almost everyday (except when I bypass the pileup on the highway using back roads), I can pretty much stay in the middle lane, “just let it go” and allow my mind to wander while driving – stopping/starting as required and automatically making sure I don’t hit the car that suddenly switched into my lane. My car radio’s dials are tuned into the four different K-Love FM frequencies that provide the best reception in this area and I hop across these signals wherever I drive, sometimes moving three stations during a single trip. My commute time hence becomes, literally, a period of worship, praise and Christ-directed thoughts. I am able to better align myself with God’s plan for me. […]

  • 4. mrlonely  |  December 6, 2007 at 9:27 am

    Your blog is very thought-provoking…keep on writing… know more about God at
    Thank you for your post.

  • 5. New Year, New You! « Letters from a Layman  |  January 13, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    […] is a year of Hope both for me and for you, one filled with possibilities that will come true when you and I work with Him, and He works through us. This will also be a year of challenges, and trails and tests and […]

  • 6. John 3:16 Day « Letters from a Layman  |  March 16, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    […] This is the first step in turning away from the world and turning to God, and this can lead you, if you follow through, to a full life here in this world, and eternal life with God afterward. This is like starting up the stove before cooking up your recipe for life. […]

  • 7. Renew your youth! (and your mind) « Letters from a Layman  |  November 30, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    […] God works in us for his part, we are also to do our part – check this post for more on this topic. So if you feel older today, or bemoan the fact that you are “aging”, be encouraged by this […]


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