Being saved by faith is akin to being planted—and the good works we do are how we bloom.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:8–10, NIV).

Outside my window, cold rain falls. The grass is greener than it was a few days ago; the trees have begun to bud—but today, the promise of spring remains just that, a promise. We’ve had a few warm days, but this is April in Chicago. And it is definitely—as T. S. Eliot observed—the cruelest month. We can go from forty degrees to eighty and back again in a day or two. Today, it’s forty-two and raining.

But still, the many bulbs I planted some long-ago autumn come up. It happens every year. The crocus bloomed two weeks ago. Now the daffodils are up, and the scilla—delicate tiny lavender blooms, only a few inches tall—carpet the bed along the front walk.

A bulb is a nugget of potential. But only if you plant it. If you leave bulbs in the garden shed, which I’ve done, they dry out and turn to dust. They won’t ever bloom unless you “save” them by putting them into the dirt.

All winter long, the snow melted down through the earth to water them. The bulbs rest, bathed in grace—an essential prerequisite to blooming.

Paul’s musings in Ephesians 2 can feel like a contradiction: We’re not saved by works, but we’re created to do good works? But Paul is describing a journey that begins with salvation. Being saved through faith is akin to being planted, and the good works we do are how we bloom.

FAITH STEP: Spend some time with Jesus, thanking Him for the free gift of salvation by His grace. Then, ask Him to show you the works that you’ve been created in Him to do—and ask Him to give you the courage to bloom.

Contributed by Keri Wyatt Kent

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