“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
— Ephesians 2:8-10
On Sunday we learned that we need to lay down the BAGGAGE of lies/false pretenses, by picking up God’s Truth and allowing the Spirit to renew our minds. Because of this baggage, we must often “unlearn what we have learned”, so we can grab ahold of God’s promises. Sometimes, even though I know I am “His Workmanship”, I try and help my Creator out with my spiritual growth. When I mess up I make sure I feel shameful and guilty… and then I try to change my habits and my thoughts to help along Jesus’ work in my life. (Sad but true) Have you ever felt stuck in that rut? Surrendering our baggage of lies is our job, but our spiritual growth and the renewing of our minds is solely the job of Jesus. Paul says, “You have been saved through faith…not a result of works so no man could boast… we are “His Workmanship”; and then tells us the work is already done we just have to “walk in them”. Do we live our spiritual lives as if Jesus has done and is doing all the heavy lifting?
The branch does not stress out to produce fruit, it simply “abides” in the vine. Wonderful, life-giving fruit is produced as the branch puts its trust in the vine. Our job is not to increase our willpower or to feel guilty when we sin but rather trust that the Promises of God’s Word are true. When we think it’s our job to do the growth, success goes to our head and failure goes to our heart; however, if we realize it’s Christ alone we can boast in Him in our successes and cling to Him in our failures. We can trust that although we may not feel renewed, or like a new creation, Jesus has good works ahead for His creation to walk in.
Be encouraged this week because you don’t have to try harder or feel like you are “behind in your spiritual growth”. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to renew your mind and show you any baggage and lies that have kept you from fully walking in your new identity. Expect to be encouraged in your mind as you dwell on the promises of God instead of the empty promises of this world.
– Pastor Andy Lynn