I was one of the men assigned to handle the six-inch (diameter) water hose as part of the fire-fighting team on board the USS WALLER, a Navy Destroying in the mid-’60s. When you run water through a six-inch fire hose, you get a great volume of water, which has great potential. At sea, we suck the salt water up out of the ocean for that purpose. But there were three different settings on the fire hose nozzle. When you shift it from fog or spray to stream (I think the three settings were fog, spray, and stream – stream was finely focused), you get a lot of force and a longer range, and the ability to put the water exactly where you need it at any given time. Water that is focused and directed has a great impact. You can feel the recoil in the hose, and it takes four men to keep the hose from shooting out of control and waving about dangerously.

It seems that there are different times in my life when my life is set on fog, spray, or stream. When it’s on stream is when I seem to get things done. I need to focus my life on a particular goal and aim carefully and put all my energy into getting that thing accomplished. Our lives can really have an impact when it’s finely focused. I think God created each of us for a life that makes that kind of impact. We have all been shaped and positioned by God Himself to make a contribution to the Kingdom. Paul says clearly in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” When I read verses like this (This is not the only one in the Bible), I’m inspired to put my life on the “stream” mode.

God has shaped us all differently. I’ve found that when I put my energy to work in reading, teaching, and communicating the Bible, I feel like my life is in the “stream” mode. I enjoy what I do. I get fully engaged in what I’m doing. It’s hard to distract me from my task. I begin to feel that I’m doing what God made me to do. I used to joke that God had created me to accomplish certain things in my life before I die, and today I’m so far behind I’ll never die! That’s a joke, in case you missed it!

But it’s different for everyone. I’m convinced that the above-quoted passage applies to everyone. Everyone has something that God has prepared for them to accomplish in life. This has caused many Christians to become stressed out trying to find their place in the world. That’s not what Paul intended. The work of salvation was done by God. It’s His “masterpiece,” as the word in Greek for “workmanship” really means. God was the one who prepared them in advance for us. The final phrase in the verse becomes clearer when we see it in the original text. Hoehner, one of my Greek professors at Seminary, said that for us “to do them” should really say for us “walk in them.” He wrote, “The purpose of these prepared-in-advance works is not ‘to work in them’ but ‘to walk in them.’ In other words, God has prepared a path of good works for believers, which He will perform in and through them as they walk by faith. This does not mean doing work for God; instead, it is God’s performing His work in and through believers.”[1] God has control of the firehose of my life and will put it into stream mode when He’s ready. Relax, and walk in faith.

[1] Hoehner, Harold W. 1985. “Ephesians.” In The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, edited by J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, 2:624. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.