Before God does work through you, he wants to do a work in you.
Find a quiet place and read that again. What does that mean?
Let’s unpack this a little.
Becoming a Jesus follower, while sometimes scary, is always exciting! God has promised that through his son we have new life, great hope, and an eternity with him. You may imagine all the great things you will do for Jesus, out of gratitude for what he has done for you. This is a good and logical thought, and it is true that Jesus has good things for you to do that he prepared in advance. But there are other things that must happen first, or much of what you do will be for you, not him.
Our world celebrates achievement. It celebrates all that you accomplish on your own. But that is not the way of Jesus. Do you really think that Jesus needs you to do anything for him? He is much more concerned with who you are becoming in the process. God loves you. He wants you to love him. He is more concerned about the condition of your heart than your agenda. For us to do the work he has assigned, we need to be connected to him. Ministry is an overflow of the heart. As we know God more and experience his love, we can’t help but share it with others.
Put your name in the blanks as you pray through this scripture:
Ephesians 2:1-10 (emphasis added)
1 Once [I, __________, was] dead because of [my] disobedience and [my] many sins. 2 [I, __________,] used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. 3 All of us, [me included] used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By [my] very nature [I was] subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.
4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved [me, __________,] so much, 5 that even though [I was] dead because of my sins, he gave me life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that [I] have been saved!) 6 For he raised [me] from the dead along with Christ and seated [me] with him in the heavenly realms because [I, __________, am] united with Christ Jesus. 7 So God can point to [me] in all future ages as [an example] of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward [me, __________,] as shown in all he has done for [me, as I am] united with Christ Jesus.
8 God saved [me, __________,] by his grace when [I] believed. And [I] can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things [I, __________,] have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For [I, __________,] am God’s masterpiece. He has created [me] anew in Christ Jesus, so [I, __________,] can do the good things he planned for [me] long ago.
This is what prayer does—it connects us with the heart of God. In his heart are the things that matter. In his heart, he waits for us to connect our hearts to his. Prayer is what connects us to the things that eternally matter.
Are you overwhelmed by the price that Jesus paid to save you? Do you realize, acknowledge, and repent the depth of your sin and what it cost him to redeem you? Can you imagine the glorious plans God has for you—that he would give his only son to get you back to seeking his heart?
During the next few days, pray through the above scripture (Eph. 2:1-10). Be quiet. Think about what God has done for you. Think of how you can be in his presence and connect with his heart. Let these thoughts and meditations be the catalyst for the transformation God wants to do within you—from the inside out.
Lead me to everlasting. Lead me to things that matter. May the desires of your heart be the desires of mine. In Jesus’ name, amen.
This post was written by Lauri White. Lauri is one of the 25 people that God used to start CedarCreek in the Fall of 1995, and was on staff until 2013. Lauri loves Jesus, and loves helping people, especially women, live out of the truth about who we are in Christ. She and her husband Mike live in Oregon, but now spend winter months in Florida near daughter Kelda and her family.
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