The Good Things You Do Weren’t Your Idea

Control and the narratives of our lives

The good things you do… It’s easy to take pride in your accomplishments. It’s easy to take credit for what you’ve done. It’s easy to look at the day, decide what you will do, go and do it, then go to bed satisfied. It’s easy. It’s also inaccurate.

The Good Things You Do Weren't Your Idea

How can I describe it? We’re more than a train on tracks controlled by a Conductor. We’re more than passive characters on the page of a novel – doing whatever is written by the Author. We’re more than vehicles traveling through space being steered left and right by the Driver. At the same time, we’re less than the Conductor, less than the Author, and less than the Driver. That’s the thing about accuracy, it’s not as easy.

The Good Things You Do Weren’t Your Idea

Do you understand? Theologians toil their minds over this. Free will? Predestination? Does God allow? Does God cause?

My answer? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

Ah! So much more complicated. And yet, that’s how life goes. We do our best, we achieve, we fail, we strive, we fall. Are we in control? Yes. But also no.

The homeless man you fed… Was it your idea? No. Not really. Sure, it was a thought, an idea that came into your mind, but did it originate with you? No. Not at all.

We Shouldn’t Be Surprised

The Apostle Paul packed this idea into one short verse in his letter to the church in Ephesus: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10). 

Every person is the product of God’s creation, His imagination, His desire to create art. We make paintings, He makes humans. We write novels, He writes lives.

Saved and transformed. That is what you are if you are created in Christ Jesus. God saves in Christ, transforms in Christ, and gives you your life’s mission in Christ. The Christian is created twice – once at birth and once at rebirth. 

Good works. The life’s mission of the Christian. 

But get this! Those good works weren’t your idea. No. God prepared them beforehand. He wrote the script of your life. But as with any movie, it’s up to the actor to play his/her part. In essence, that’s what it means to walk in them. To show up, to walk in the God-given script of your life.

The Perfect Story

From the creation of mankind, God had a story He desired to tell. A story of His glory.

A story that featured options – options of improv and options of following the script. At every turn, the options are there. In every moment, the options are there. 

All the while, the Writer and Director of the story is not out of control. No. He can handle the turns, the pain, the mistakes, the dummies who go into the dark alleys and the creepy buildings because they are curiously pursuing a sound.

We are all actors playing our parts in this story, the story of God’s glory. And today, just like any other day, we have scenes where we can follow the script or we can improvise. The choices are ours to make. But the funny thing is, in choosing to follow the script (and do good things), we can’t take credit for doing so. No. The script wasn’t our creation, we just followed it in that moment.

A Final Word

This all begs the question: whose story are you living?

Brandon is the Spiritual Development Pastor at The Crossing, a church plant on the east side of Cincinnati. He is the author of Crucified to Life and Preaching Sticky Sermons. His passion is helping people discover hope and transformation in Christ. He & his wife, Sara & their daughters, Kairea & Piper, live on the east side of Cincinnati with their two dogs.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I like this very much.

  • There’s something I’d like to add here. I believe that I’m doing a good thing which was not my idea, and I’m wondering if you, as a Christian dad, would have a few minutes to help me with it. I’m seeking reviewers for the 24-page pdf (mostly pictures) of my second book for children, “Marie and Mr. Bee.” The last page has a choice of either a secular or a Scriptural ending. Would you consider allowing me to send you the pdf for your consideration for review?