How Would You Know What’s Next?
Today begins. And, for most of us, we have either a mental list or written list (or electronic schedule) of the things we intend to get down today. We want the day to be fruitful, to be significant; we don’t want to simply waste the hours. So we plan and prepare and execute.
But that leads to a particular question: Did we get done the most important things? And behind that question are some even more basic questions: What are the most important things? What are the essential things that should become the priorities for the day?
In writing about the life that Christ-followers have stepped into, Paul explains:
For we are [God’s] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).
A few things to notice in what Paul wrote. First, this life with have stepped into with God though Christ is not just about “where you go when you die.” (That is included, but that is not all!) We were made new–recreated–“for good works.” There’s a present, daily, regular intentionality in what God is doing in us. There are particular good works that are to characterize our lives.
Then also notice that God prepared these good works “beforehand.” They are pre-planned by God; these good works are already in His mind. They are on His schedule for us they are the important things to be done today.
And then also notice that God intends for us to “walk in” those good works. That is, we are to step into, live into, walk out, participate in, live out the good works He has prepared for us because He has created us in Christ Jesus for those works.
But how do we know? How do we know which good works we are to give ourselves to this day? Where do we find the list, the schedule?
One a very basic level, those good works include the broad and general instructions we find throughout Scripture. For example . . . We are to rejoice always (1 Thessalonians 5:16); we are called to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). The Scriptures are clear that we are to love one another (John 15:12) and speak Gospel truth to one another (Ephesians 4:15, 25). But is it enough to simply walk in the broad, common “good works” we find mentioned in Scripture? Could it be that there are more specific good works God has designed for us? And, if so, how do we walk in those good works?
Jesus was able to come to the end of His earthly ministry affirming He had accomplished everything the Father intended for Him (John 17:4). Jesus walked in the good works that the Father had prepared for Him. But how? Jesus Himself pictures it for us.
Jesus only did the things He saw the Father doing. “The Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing” (John 5:19). He watched to see what the Father was doing.
Jesus only said the things He heard from the Father. “For I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say” (John 12:49). He took His cue as to what to say from the Father.
Jesus only did the works that the Father was doing. “The Father abiding in Me does His works” (John 14:10). He only did the things the Father was doing in and through Him.
So maybe one of the ways to keep on walking in the good works the Father has prepared for us to walk in would be to not start with our plans for the day but to watch and listen and look (and ask!) for the Father to clarify for us what He would like to do in and through us. We might come to discover what we were created for–works prepared beforehand for us to walk in.