God is a very capable craftsman. God's workmanship is of the highest quality. We are God's workmanship. We are the art of a competent Creator.
Notice in this text that our creation 'in Christ Jesus' means that we are competent as well. We are like our Creator in that we have been created 'to do good works'. God who is capable of good works made us to be capable of doing good works as well.
This is quite a contrast to 'you can't do anything right'. In dysfunctional families and institutions people learn to doubt their competence. This doubt leads many people to work harder and harder to demonstrate their abilities. In dysfunctional systems, however, no matter how hard we try, we can't try hard enough. We learn that our problem is not that we are human and occasionally make mistakes but that we are incompetent people. We learn that we are flawed in a most basic way. No matter how compulsively we try, we can't ever get it right.
This text is an affirmation of our competence, of our importance in God's plans. God affirms us by saying "there are good things for you to do, and I believe you can do them". Notice that the text does not say that we need to do good works to earn God's love or to win God's approval or that we have to do the work perfectly or compulsively. What is does say is that God sees each of us as capable of good works. God invites us to participate in the creative, redemptive work that God is doing in the world. God sees us as capable.
You are competent, God.
Your works are good works.
It amazes me that you see me as competent.
Thank you for believing in me.
Help me to trust your words of affirmation.
Help me to find joy in doing good.
Copyright Dale and Juanita Ryan
National Association for Christian Recovery