July 11, 2006
"..being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:6)
Have you ever started a project that you never finished? Started out with the best of intentions and lost interest somewhere along the way? I'm willing to bet a hot fudge sundae that you have. What about those books that you began to read but now sit somewhere with the bookmark still intact? How about that half cleaned closet? Ooh, here's one...what about the diet you started on New Year's Day? The exercise regimen? Organizing your house or office? That basement or garage is still a mess. Fortunately, we didn't inherit this trait from our Heavenly Father.
Paul tells us in Philippians 1:6 that God began a good work in us and He will complete it. He will keep working on us until the day of Christ Jesus, which is the day of Christ's second coming. God began His good work in us when we were saved. Unfortunately, we weren't immediately changed into holy, perfect children of God. There was still a lot of work to be done. Salvation brought us forgiveness of sins and paid the penalty for them through the shed blood of Jesus on the cross. However our attitudes, motives, habits and thoughts needed some work. We didn't get a magic wand waved over our heads that made us perfect, angelic beings. There was still work to be done. But God hasn't given up on us. We are not forgotten projects...we are works in progress. Little by little, day by day, we experience the Gospel and live it out in our lives. We become more like Jesus.
Life can be a bully. Circumstances can knock us down and keep us down if we let them. We can become discouraged at what we think is our lack of progress. Like our unfinished projects we still see anger, gossip, habits that we can't seem to break, weakness in trials, old thought patterns, hurts and disappointments. But I'm here to tell you that it's not about you! It's about Christ! Our verse doesn't say that we complete the work that God started. It says that He will complete the work in us. Paul said that he was "confident" in this fact. That means that he was fully persuaded. He trusted it and believed it. He had a settled conviction that God would most certainly continue on to completion the good work He had begun in the Philippian believers.
We can place no confidence in ourselves to do any good work in us or to change us. We must grasp the concept of how faithful God is and that's where our confidence should rest. Isaiah 66:9 says, "Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?" says the Lord. "Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?" says your God. Of course not! God finishes what He begins. We are being changed into God's image from glory to glory by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3: 18 KJV). The Bible says it..that settles it!
G. Campbell Morgan (pastor, teacher and writer) told about a Christian woman who was struggling with giving her life fully to Jesus. The woman said to Morgan, ?I know I will have to do all the things I most dislike, but I am determined to be a real Christian.?
A year later, Morgan was visiting in her town and spoke with her again. ?Do you recall,? she inquired, ?What I said to you when I dedicated my life to Christ?? He told her he did. As she looked at him, the light of God appeared to be on her face. She exclaimed, ?But it?s been so different, Dr. Morgan! I began to follow Christ, feeling that I would have to do all the things that were contrary to my desires, but now I do what I want every day because God has made me pleased with the things that please Him!? Notice that the woman said, "GOD has made me.."
If you are discouraged today with your walk with God and your progress, DON'T BE! Look back and you will see signs of growth. I know that you will. Remember when you were considerate instead of crabby. When you stood faithfully with a friend who was going through a rough time. When you didn't have much yourself, yet you gave anyway. When you let someone else have their way over what you wanted. When you forgave instead of retaliated. You are growing. God is changing you from glory to glory to glory. You are a work in progress. I love this quote by Joyce Meyer: "I'm not where I need to be but thank God I'm not where I used to be. I'm okay and I'm on my way!" Don't give up. Don't compare your walk with God with someone else. You are unique and special in your Father's eyes just as you are. And like Paul, I am confident that He who began a good work in you, WILL carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
He isn't through with you yet!
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