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God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to live our lives doing. Ephesians 2:10 (NCV)

What motivates you to do good things for others? If you see someone drop something in the parking lot, what drives you to get their attention so they don’t lose it? When you are trying to get out of a packed parking lot why do you stop to let another frustrated motorist into the line? When you see a little child who is lost what moves you to help them to safety?

There are a lot of reasons people do good works. Some noble, some not so noble.

  • Sometimes we do good works because (in our eyes at least) they make us look powerful to those who are watching. We all like to look powerful, right?
  • Some do good things for praise. We seek the acknowledgement of a job well done because it gives us value. There is nothing wrong with wanting to feel appreciated, but self-glory should never be the primary reason for our actions.
  • Some do good works for others because they think it takes everyone’s eyes off of them. (If I do this, people will forget the bad thing I did back there.)
  • Some people have a sort of messiah complex. They do good things for others because in their subconscious mind they HAVE to be the one to step in and make things better. Sometimes this type of person will ‘create a crisis’ in order to step in and save the day.
  • Some people do good works now in hopes of banking some favors for the future. (“Better keep them in my good graces if I ever hope to get something in return.”)
  • Sadly, for some, the actions they do for others are driven by the hope that God will smile kindly on them and usher them into heaven.

You may read through the list above and think, “I know someone like that, thank goodness I’m not in the list!” But the troubling thing is that the enemy can sneak into our actions and twist the true reasons we do things around so that they end up being self-seeking.

Throughout Jesus’ ministry on earth he taught us that the good things we do should be done for one reason and one reason alone, to glorify the Father. Even in his prayer in the garden Jesus prayed that his ultimate and final acts of doing good on earth (his death and resurrection) Would bring glory to the Father.

We were put here on earth, as God’s chosen vessels to do good works. We are God’s tools to change the lives of those around us so they can be brought into relationship with him.

Good works don’t get us to heaven, but doing good things for others can bring a little heaven into the lives of the weary. We do good works for one of two reasons, power for ourselves or to make people better. As a Christ-follower you can make a difference in your world for the glory of the Father. That’s what you are here for.

PRAYER: Father God, may the things I do for others be done to glorify you. Forgive me for the times I’ve caught myself seeking my own glory and power. Help me to make a difference for you. In your name I pray. Amen.


Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, Romans 4:20

It had been years since God promised Abraham and Sarah a son. Today that doesn’t seem like a huge deal, but in his society not having a son meant Abraham would have no one to pass on the family name and inheritance. For Sarah, a woman who couldn’t bear children was considered second-rate. In fact, among some circles, not being able to bear children was grounds for divorce and the woman was always to blame in those situations.

God always makes good on His promises, but He does it in His time, not ours. That makes life hard. When someone promises something to us we expect delivery in a reasonable amount of time and in a manner of our choosing. God doesn’t operate within our rules or our time frame.

When He is slow (by our standards) in fulfilling His promises we can respond in a variety of ways. We may get angry with God. We throw our temper tantrums, maybe even shake our fist at Him and demand answers. Usually our anger with God causes us to begin to doubt His promises and His ability to make good on them. “If He couldn’t do this, maybe the rest of the other things He promises are false too!”

When God doesn’t come through on promises for us we may also blame ourselves. We remind ourselves of past mistakes, poor choices or those rebellious times in our lives. We may conclude from this that ‘God must hate me. He’s just getting even with me for doubting Him and doing my own thing.’ We beat ourselves up emotionally for awhile and then, if we aren’t careful we give up on God altogether. “It’s no use. I can’t do this ‘God thing’. I give up. May as well have fun and do it on my own.” Taking matters into our own hands usually only makes matters worse.

A variation of the ‘self-blame game’ is the comparison game. We look at those around us who have the ‘God life’ all figured out. We see how spiritual they are and how they’ve been blessed. We hear them speak of God’s love and mercy and how He is doing such wonderful things in their lives. We naturally conclude that since we don’t have a squeaky-clean, spiritually blessed life like them we must have something wrong with us. The enemy may even chime in here and tell us ‘they are all a bunch of hypocrites’ and urge us to go life alone.

It’s a hard pill for us to swallow, but we need to realize that as followers of Jesus Christ we have many promises from God’s word. But those promises don’t necessarily include comfort, financial prosperity or good health. We weren’t put here on earth to live a country club lifestyle. We were put here to glorify God. During a time when life was at its worst for Abraham and Sarah, they did not waver in their faith in God. The Bible says that is was this unwavering faith that gave Abraham and Sarah the strength they needed to hold on until God’s promise came true.

We give glory to God by believing in Him when we can’t see his way in the darkness. We give glory to God by remaining faithful when life isn’t fair; when the doctor gives us a bad report; when a relationship goes south; when finances dwindle and our job ends; when the bank finally forecloses on our dream home.

Whatever you are going through at this time, remember that God can and will eventually come through on His promises. It may not be like you were hoping. There may be lots of pain and confusion along the way. There may be times you don’t think you can go on. These times are needed to strengthen you for the road ahead. God DOES love you. He WILL fulfill His promises. Hold fast to your faith. If you do this, with the help of the Holy Spirit, chances are, years from now, you will be stronger and look back to see how much better God’s ways were than your ways.

PRAYER: Holy God. You have given me many promises in your Word. Frankly, right now I don’t see them. I’m tired. I’m battling anger and doubt. I see other people who seem to have it together and wonder what’s wrong with me. Forgive me for my doubt. Empower me with your Holy Spirit to be able to believe like Abraham did. Let others see your glory in my strength as I battle what life has in store for me. May you be glorified in my trial. In Jesus name, Amen.

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