For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Under Nehemiah’s leadership, the people of Jerusalem began the massive project of rebuilding the wall around the city. Let’s look back at Nehemiah 2:18. I want to show you something really neat in this verse. Nehemiah wrote, “I told them how the hand of my God had been favorable to me and also about the king’s words which he had spoken to me. Then they said, ‘Let us arise and build.’ So they put their hands to the good work.” First, I want you to notice the word “work.” A lot of times we have this idea that if God is really in a project, it will not require any effort on our part–it will just happen. “Let go, let God.” A lot of people think that way, and that is why they never end up doing anything significant. Now, there is one area of life in which work is absolutely useless, and that is in our salvation. Salvation is a free gift of God. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “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.” We are saved by grace, not by works. There is no amount of effort that can result in the forgiveness of our sins. But then verse 10 says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” God did not save you by your good works, but He saved you that you might do a good work. Whenever you are involved in creating something out of nothing, in your family, in your work, or in your church, you are simply reflecting the character of God. God is a worker; He made us in His image to be workers as well. Nothing of significance ever happens without hard work.
The second word I want you to notice in Nehemiah 2:18 is the word “good”–“They put their hands to the good work.” That word in Hebrew for “good” is the antonym of the word “rah,” or “evil.” This verse actually could be translated, “They put their hands to the holy work.” This was not just any construction project they were involved in; this was the construction of something that represented the glory of God. The same thing is true for us. When we are involved in advancing the glory of God in this world, we are in a fight against the forces of darkness itself. Isn’t it a privilege to be a part of a great purpose like that? God in His grace has chosen us here on earth to advance His kingdom. If He had wanted to, He could have arranged it so that the moment we are saved, we get raptured to be with Him. But He did not do so. If you are a Christian, He has left you here on this earth for one reason and for one reason only, and that is to advance His kingdom here on earth, to glorify God, to cause people to want to worship God.
My prayer is that the same spirit of enthusiasm that intoxicated those Israelites in Nehemiah’s day would be in us as believers, that we might say, “Let us arise and do this holy work that God has called us to do.” Are you ready?
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “How To Eat An Elephant” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org