I can have dreams of popularity and fame with a good unhealthy dose of self promotion all in the name of ministry.
I was brought to tears coming into a friends living room after listening to a song “Chase That (Ambition)” by the gospel hip hop rapper, Lecrae. (from his album Rehab: Overdose)
“I tell you whats better or better yet worse – chasing your own glory while doing the Lord’s work”
Yep. Knees on floor. laying over a coffee table. Tears. Repentance.
This comes to mind as I reflect on Ephesians 2:1-10 from this week’s Glorious Grace bible study.
The passage speaks of who we were before Christ. The fact that Christ rescued us and made us alive in Him. We did nada to earn it. Our works didn’t save us nor do they keep our salvation secure. He did the work. He deserves the glory!
This does not mean that we are not to do works, matter fact He has works that He has planned beforehand for us to walk in. And guess what – the same power that saved us is used to empower us to do the work that He calls us to do.
So who does the power belong to? God
So who gets the glory? God
Anyone else, including self, is idolatry.
This affects two things in my life: The way I view the works I walk in and the way I view the works of others.
The Works I Walk In . . .
. . . are for me and planned out and powered by God. I want my spiritual eyes to be open and alert daily for the good works he has planned for me that day, hour, minute. Works like helping a neighbor, sharing my faith, encouraging a Mom at drop off, changing a diaper, playing peak-a-boo, affirming my husband etc. etc. It is vital that I believe that these daily – sometime mundane – good works matter and glorify God and that He empowers me to do them
I also want God to give me long term dreams for His glory – I want to be careful not to come up with them on my own (cause i am well equipped to do just that in my flesh). He has given me gifts and talents and placed burdens on my heart that he wants me to do something with. I want to develop in my gifting, and look for opportunities to pray and act for the things that I am burdened by.
The Works of Others . . .
. . . are for them. Yes we all have general things that the Lord has called us all to do – like the Great Commission. But how he has called us to live that out is unique, because we are unique. One of the things I feel called to is blogging (duh) 🙂 and He has a plan for the way He wants to use it – so I shouldn’t try to be like any other blogger. I can learn a whole heaping lot from other bloggers and I want to and will, I admire styles and influence but I am not them so when I try to write like them i’m slowly moving out of my own lane and trying to be someone else.
I also need to give credit where credit is due. It helps me and keeps my perspective right when I praise God for the work He is doing in someone’s life and affirm their influence in my life and encourage them. Not Praise them and think more highly of them than I should.
When we once lived “following the course of this world” and “carrying out the passions of our flesh” it was in our very nature to think too highly of ourselves, store up treasures here on earth, and worship things and people. But due to what God did we are dead to those things and are now alive in Christ.
That does not mean we are not tempted – as long as we are still in this flesh we will wrestle with sin. The Good News is that Christ has given us the power to not yield to those temptation and when we do we are not condemned. As we walk in the works that he prepared for beforehand – He himself is doing a work in our hearts.
*This is my fourth week going through the bible study glorious grace. Excited about what God is revealing and anticipating what is to come. You can read my takeaway from week one here, and week two here and week three here. And read what others are learning here.