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Focus on the Road

Ephesians 2 :8-10, NASB
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.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

I have lived through some nasty Ohio winters. Snow and ice are the norm around here, and this can create challenging driving conditions.

I have heard that, if you find yourself on a road that has become one long Slip ‘N Slide, you should keep your gaze fixed on where you want your car to go. Your brain will make your hands (and steering wheel) cooperate with your eyes, and this can get you out of a skid. 

I like to think about this in relation to my spiritual life. My life is like a moving car. I’m going somewhere, but where? And how can I stay focused on the road so I don’t end up in a ditch?

Created for Good Works

What is God’s desired “direction” for our lives? According to Ephesians 2:10, God has prepared good works for us to walk in; He has in fact created us for these good works. When I really think about this, it’s exciting. I was created for a purpose! What purpose?

Ephesians 5:1–2 succinctly answers this “what” and also gives us the “why” and the “how”:

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (emphasis mine)

The good works God has prepared for us fall under the umbrella of living a life of love. Jesus taught that the entire Old Testament law is summed up in the law of love (see Matthew 22:36–40).

Sift through the commands of the New Testament, too, and you will find that they always, generally or specifically, describe an aspect of this life of love. These good works include living the “one another” passages in Christian community, growing in our love for God through spiritual disciplines, and loving the non-Christians in our lives by showing them Christ’s love and sharing our faith. 

Staying Committed to the Task

But how do we keep our focus on this life of love? And where do we find our motivation when the distractions of this life—our selfish fleshly desires and the temptations of the devil and the world—pull at us from every direction?

Both the “why” and the “how” are also answered in Ephesians 5:1–2:

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (emphasis mine)

Our motivation is our identity in Christ—dearly loved children. When I reflect deeply on God’s extravagant, undeserved love for me, what wouldn’t I want to do for Him in response? Grace is the fuel for the Christian life. As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:14, “Christ’s love compels us.” There’s a reason Ephesians 2:8–9 come before verse 10.

Our example is God Himself. Just as Christ loved us with a sacrificial love, we are called to imitate God in a life of the same kind of love.

Lord Jesus, thank You for loving us. We don’t deserve it and could never earn it, but in Your incredible goodness, You have given us Your love anyway. Help us to keep our eyes fixed on You, and by following Your example, may we stay the course and walk in the good works You have prepared in advance for us. 

Erin D.

Unless otherwise noted, scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.