Zealous for Good Works

I often speak with women who want to be involved in “service” of some kind, and they wonder what they should do and how to find it. This is a good and godly impulse; in fact, it is a God-given impulse that identifies us as His very own. Paul tells us in Titus that we were made for good works for God “…gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from every lawless deed, and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (2:14).

We are God’s own special people. This is a tremendous fact. He has redeemed us from sin, He has cleansed us from sin, and He has made us His very own.  He redeemed us from all the bad works we were doing (lawless deeds) and now as “His own special people” we are eager and hungry for good ones.

Later in Titus 3:8, Paul says “This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works.” And in 3:14 we have it repeated: “And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful.”

We can gather several things about good works from these two passages. First of all, we are to learn to do good works. That means we are not naturally skilled at good works, but we can learn. Titus 2:11 says the grace of God is our teacher. We learn from His Word,  we learn by observing others, and we learn by much practice.This is part of the curriculum in Christ’s school.

Second, we must be careful or attentive regarding good works. We must take this seriously and not have good works be something that we add to our busy schedules to make us feel good about ourselves. Good works are not a little box we check off on our good days. They require our care and attention.

Third, we are to maintain good works, or keep them up, persevering in them. “Do not grow weary of doing good” (2 Thes. 3:13).

Fourth, we must affirm constantly, or talk about good works regularly, keep them on our radar, and make this a way of life.

Fifth, we are to be zealous! We must give ourselves to these good works with eagerness and readiness, not dragging our feet. Remember, they are good works, so we ought to be cheerful not grumpy or bitter or lazy.

Finally, we are to pay particular attention to urgent needs. These cannot be put off till a more convenient time. They must be done now. These might be meals for the sick, visits to the hospital, cleaning or babysitting or running errands. These are not fancy needs; they are urgent.

All we have to do is ask God to open our eyes to the many needs, especially the urgent needs, that surround us every day. Most of these are not glamorous. Few are rewarded with praise and thanks. In fact, most of these good w0rks that God has prepared in advance for us to walk in (Eph. 2:10) are found in our ordinary, day-t0-day lives.They are humble tasks, and they are things we have the skills to do.

Dorcas was a woman “full of good works and charitable deeds” (Acts. 9:36-43). What were some of those deeds? Sewing tunics and garments. We do not have to go further than our own homes to find many good works waiting for us in our domestic duties. We simply fail to recognize them as good works because we have renamed them “duties” or “drudgery.”  Remember who we are: God’s own special people, created and purified and zealous for good works. Rename some of those things you do every day that are good works. Look at them, commit them to God, be eager to do them as a response to His work in you. Why are they good? Because God’s grace is in them.



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12 thoughts on “Zealous for Good Works

  1. Thank you for this blog and for continually writing. I rarely comment but I am always thankful and always learning.

  2. I remember during a particularly bleak season when I was broken, feeling lost and worthless. In caring for my little ones, I was reassured that doing the dishes and the laundry were a service to God. I would work at the kitchen sink, and pray, “God, I don’t know what way to go. But thank you for giving me this work. At the very least, I know I can obey and glorify you right now by doing the dishes.”

  3. To point back to your last post, perhaps if we take your advice about good works and “look at them,” being careful, attentive and zealous, as you suggest, we will better be able to fight the guilty feelings that some of us (me, to put a point on it) feel when considering all of the good works that we wish we could do but can’t for various reasons. In other words, if we are careful to make good works a way of life, doing them cheerfully, purposefully and carefully, we can also find contentment in our humble service, despite our limitations.

  4. Thank you, Nancy. You always bring us back to the foundational things that we need to hear to keep us on track!

  5. Certainly, good deeds aren’t required for salvation. But if you really really feel called to a specific ministry that wouldn’t take up too much of your time, why not that to your husband about it? Maybe he’ll take over some of your household duties for a time so you can fulfill that call.

  6. Sue,
    By all means! My point is simply that we sometimes fail to recognize the good deeds that surround us all day long. Those are the ones we are obviously called to, but that doesn’t exclude outside ministry; it simply outranks it.

  7. What a beautiful, practical devotional. You made my day. I will share this with others and memorize these familiar verses. Appreciatively. Ed

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