8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:8-10).
Both grace and faith are gifts from God. Without one of the two salvation does not happen. Good works do not create salvation, but salvation creates good works. Our destiny of good works was created before the foundation of the world, and our salvation activates the good works. The good works we do before our new birth are of little consequence because they, generally speaking, spring up from our own good ideas. Our good ideas are not God’s ideas, just as the destiny we devise for ourselves is not the call of God on our lives. Doing the good works that He plans for us to do is truly, as the French say, la joie de vivre: the joy of living!
We are His workmanship. He planned our lives. He wrote a book about each one of us. We will only be happy when we are doing what we were created by God to do, and we won’t know what that is until we have truly surrendered our lives to the Lord. Get your fingers out of the pie! Stop trying to direct your own life. You are dead to self and alive, truly alive, in Him.