Posted by: mikenicholsblog | December 14, 2009

prepared in advance

Who doesn’t want to have great achievements? Picture for a moment the heroes of our day. They are individuals that have reached the pinnacle in some area of life. When the economic earthquake erupted last year, everyone listened to what Warren Buffet had to say. Until two weeks ago, Tiger Woods was revered as a man of great achievement and incredible discipline. In a few weeks, television sets around the country will be tuned in to find the next “American Idol”. Even in the Christian world, we tend to make rock stars out of those who have achieved “greatness” of some sort. Simply stated, our culture honors achievement.  And to use a worn out phrase, who doesn’t want to reach the next level?

On your spiritual journey, how can you balance your natural desire to achieve, with the command to “become lesser”? Is your journey path better served by doing more, giving more, being in church more and lots of other “mores”, or by knowing the Father better? From one journey traveler to another, I must confess that too much of my life has been about what I am doing (achieving) for the Lord and His cause, rather than slowing down and knowing His heart for my life. Churches are filled today with individuals who have walked with God, served, given and worn themselves out in the process. The natural DNA to achieve, even in our spiritual walk, can cause us to miss the real joy of our faith and hinder the experience of truly knowing God. So what is the key to being used by the Father and having a faith-filled life, without trying so hard to achieve things for Him?

In a book that I read (and re-read), The PAPA Prayer by Larry Crabb, part of a sentence helped my clarity on the issue of achieving for God. The words read, “… that any true experience of God is given, not achieved”.  In reading and meditating on those simple words, I began to see the power they have for our relationship to the Father. Whether it is salvation, or doing the “good works” of the Christian walk, they should both spring from the well of relationship with our Creator.  And not from the desire of “doing” good work for His cause. When we are truly immersed in knowing Him, and allowing Him to showcase His glory through our lives, the deeds will naturally follow.

You can test this principle in your own life.  Do you find it easier to serve or help in a particular cause, or spend time getting to know the Father? For many who have gotten very weary on the spiritual journey, there is agreement that achieving for the Lord has taken precedence over knowing Him.  Let the words of the New Testament letter to the believers in Ephesus set the proper context …

Ephesians 2:8-10
For it is by grace you have been saved,
through faith-and this not from yourselves,
it is the gift of God – not by works , so that
no one can boast. For we are God’s
workmanship, created in Christ Jesus
to do good works, which God prepared
in advance for us to do.

Let your heart be refreshed with the thought, that it was through faith, and not achievement that you came into the family of God. And as you walk in faith, and spend time getting to know Him, that experience will lead to good works (achievement). Our God-given DNA, after salvation, is to do good works.  But let’s not use our cultural achievement mentality to accomplish what “… God prepared in advance for us to do”. It may not be logical for a 21st century Christian to slow down and know God first, but it certainly makes great Biblical sense.

And for the weary Christian, God’s achievement through your life is not finished!


  1. Wow! What an Incredible reminder!

    I wish you and all the blog readers a very joyful Tuesday, December 14th, 2009! We have eternal life and we serve a risen Savior so what more could we want to be joyful about?!

  2. oops, make that December 15th!

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