A Good Compliment

Mark Twain once quipped, “I can go two months on a good compliment.” We today might say instead, “Affirmation is my love language.” (I like the legendary humorist’s version more.) It seems no matter how else we receive and express love—be it through gifts, acts of service, quality time or physical touch—we all embrace the sincere words of genuine affirmation. Think about it, when you “step over to the other side” into the presence of God, what words will you yearn to hear? Might they be these: “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful… Come and share your master’s happiness”?1 What does this deep longing tell us but that we know we have purpose in this life and that this purpose is not about us? We are here to glorify the God who knows us best and loves us most and to be conduits through whom His love flows to a world that thirsts for it.

The Bible makes it clear we receive salvation by entrusting our life to the Son of God and His redemptive work on the cross: Jesus took upon Himself the penalty for our sins and in this great love redeemed us for Himself. Writes Paul, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”2 Yet just as the Spirit breathes new life into believers, so also He leads us in impactful acts of love that God planned long ago for us to do. Paul went on to explain, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”3 We are not saved through good works; we are saved for good works. And the God who gives us life is the God who gives us purpose.

If God has prepared good works for us to do, then doesn’t it make sense that we ask Him to show us what they are each day? This is Jesus’ model, for even the Son of God did only what His Father told Him to do4 and said only what the Father told Him to say.5 Likewise, life in Christ is not a matter of us doing what we want for God, but God accomplishing His plan through us. What an honor! How humbling! Such purpose! This is how we bear fruit that will last.6 Then in due time may we hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” We could go an eternity on this good compliment, couldn’t we?

Father, thank you for the honor of Kingdom purpose and eternal impact. Show us today what you would have us do and say today. Guide us, that we would set aside our will and be open to yours. In Christ we pray. Amen.

1 Matthew 25:23
2 Ephesians 2:8. 9 ESV
3 Ephesians 2:10 ESV
4 John 5:19
5 John 8:28
6 John 15:16

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