For it is grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is a gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s masterpiece, created to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
This past week I was preparing a sermon and I was trying to think of a way to illustrate God’s wonderful gifts we find in this incredible passage. In my office I glanced up and saw a nesting doll that I had bought for my wife during a trip to Russia. This is a hand painted figurine of Vince Young of the Texas Longhorns. And he comes apart and inside is another player, Jaamal Charles and in that doll is another player, etc. I was shocked that I would find a Texas Longhorns doll in Russia!
It suddenly occurred to me that the nesting doll is a great illustration of God’s gifting as illustrated in the scripture passage.
Eph. 2:8 tells of God’s greatest gift; salvation, a relationship with Jesus for eternity. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works,
There is so much to this relationship and when we open the gift of salvation, we find another gift, that of identity (For we are God’s masterpiece).
When we understand that “it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me,” and live from that new identity, we soon discover the gift of purpose (created in Christ Jesus to do good works). I now know my purpose comes from God and why I was put on this earth.
As I live from my purpose, I discover my calling, the way I fulfill my purpose (which God prepared in advance for us to do).
As I live out my calling, I discover my unique spiritual gifts that help me do what God has called me to do.
Just like the nesting doll, within each gift is another gift. But we must open each gift and apply it in order to realize the next gift.
So often we receive the gift of salvation and never exercise the faith to realize the riches in Christ that come with salvation.
Many search for an identity other than Christ and live for self rather than from their created purpose and never discover their calling or utilize their spiritual gifts.
Jesus said I have come to give you the abundant life and we can realize life to the fullest when we open each gift given to us.
Who, Why and How
Identity: Who we are
Purpose: Why we are here
Calling: How we fulfill our purpose