For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
Ephesians 2:10 says that we have been “created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” So, what are the good works God has prepared for me?
Many of us see “good works” as an expression of our faith, which include: attending worship services, praying regularly, studying Scripture, generously giving financially, joining a small group, going on mission trips, caring for the poor, working for justice, loving our neighbors, etc. These are surely among the good works God has prepared for us as people who have been transformed by God's grace through Christ.
But God's plan for our good works is much broader and deeper. The Greek original for v. 10 reads more literally, “which God prepared in advance, so that we might walk in them.” The language of walking was used by teachers in Paul’s time to describe a way of living or engaging in a certain lifestyle. In other words, “good works” are not obviously religious activities scattered throughout an otherwise secular life. Instead, the good works encompass the whole of the Christian, all that we do by God's grace for God's purposes.
There are other similar passages in the Pauline letters that envision all of life as lived through and for God (see Romans 12:1 and Colossians 3:17, for instance).
Therefore, though it's certainly right for us to engage in works of the church (i.e. outreach to the poor, the oppressed, and those who don't know God's grace in Christ), Ephesians 2:10 encourage us to see our whole life as an interconnected series of good works offered to God: good works at work, in the classroom, on the football field, in your neighborhood, and in your community associations. If you're a boss, good works may involve the way you manage your employees. If you're a parent, good works may include making dinner for your children as well as praying with them as you tuck them into bed. The more we grow in faith, the more we see ourselves as God's masterpieces, and the more we will do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Food for thought
How might your life be different if you began to see your whole life as an offering to God, instead of activities that are obviously religious? Ask for God’s help to see your whole life as God sees it: an offering to God.