Hold your Horses!

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)

When I was a kid, my Dad liked to use the expression “Hold your horses!” to slow us down a bit. He had every reason to. I remember one day at supper he mentioned to my Mom that he was going to tear down the chicken coop. Boy was Dad surprised when he came home from work the next day and found a pile of rubble where the chicken coop used to be. My two older brothers and I just loved tearing things down so we decided to “help” him out.

I think our Heavenly Father is telling us to “hold our horses” in Ephesians 2:10. When we read this verse we have a tendency to skip the first part and jump right into the “action” part. Maybe that’s normal. We are created for good works so let’s get going! The harvest is plentiful, there’s lots of work to do, what are we waiting for? Wait a minute now, let’s slow down a bit here and look at the beginning of this verse – even better, let’s put it into context.

Ephesians 2:4-7 teaches us of God’s great work on our behalf. Because of His mercy, because of His great love for us, but also because we were dead in our transgressions – He made us alive together with Christ, He saved us by grace, He raised us up with Him, and He seated us in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Why? So that He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
In all of this, He only asks one thing of us – to place our confidence, trust, and faith in Him and in His work. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

In this context and before we get to our works, our Father starts out by telling us “We are His workmanship”. Other translations say “We are His masterpiece”. Take a minute and think about what this means. Think about what kind of work a craftsman or an artist would qualify as his workmanship or as a masterpiece. How much time would he spend in planning? How much effort would he invest? What degree of perfection would he aim for? Would he be proud of his work? Would he sign it and let others know that he is the author? Would it be a work of love or just a routine job? Are all of his masterpieces copies or is each one unique? Would he stop and ponder his progress and maybe even redo some aspects that weren’t up to his ideals?

And now, what about your heavenly Father and you? What has He done and what is He doing in your life? What is this workmanship that He is creating in you? Do you see yourself as His masterpiece? Does He look and ponder who you are and who He wants to make you? Is He proud of His work in You? Has He signed His name? Does He look upon you lovingly? Do you realize that you were on His drawing board long before you were born and that He has a plan for your life and your future? Don’t let the accuser bring up your failures and answer these questions for you. It’s not about what you’ve done but about who you are, who He is, what He has done and what He is doing. Go back through these questions and ask God to show you the truth. You are in fact His workmanship, you are His masterpiece!

Now that we’ve “held our horses” for a bit and are starting to understand the context, what does the second part of Ephesians 2:10 tell us? First, as we understand more and more what God has done and what He is doing in our lives, we naturally discover who we really are and what we are made to do. We are created in Christ Jesus for good works.

Second, the works we are created to do are like God’s works – they are good. Now God saw all that he had made, and indeed, it was very good! (Genesis 1:31). As God was pleased with His works, He and you will be pleased with your good works. Working with and for God brings a satisfaction and fulfillment like no other.

Third, the works we are created to do have been prepared in advance by God. We have been custom made for specific works. We will receive on the job training as we go along and we will be challenged constantly to depend on God and to trust Him as He shows us what His plan is. Have you ever wondered why God chose Moses to be His spokesman and Moses didn’t want the job? Have you ever wondered why God chose a fisherman (Peter) to lead the mission to the Jews and He chose a Pharisee (Paul) to lead the mission to the gentiles? You will probably be very surprised when you learn what He has chosen you for.

Life is But a Weaving
(author unknown) often told by Corrie Ten Boom

My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.
Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.
Not ’til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned
He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.

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