God’s Work In Progress

Published March 2, 2014 by

God’s Work In Progress

Philippians 1:6

“…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.”

Perhaps Paul’s joy in the believers at Philippi was that he was seeing them through the eyes of faith and not in their flesh. Not as they were, but as they would be when God’s work was complete. His view of them was through the eye of faith. He was confident that He who had begun a good work in them was going to finish it. In this light, Paul could say that, even though you may rub me the wrong way occasionally, I know what you are going to become. This is the key to getting along with our Christian brothers and sisters. Sometimes it’s difficult, but when we realize what they will become we can do it. Mark Driscoll tells the story of an artist who called a friend and asked him to comment on a picture he was painting. He said, “this is my masterpiece. It is beautiful.” The friend said “I guess I don’t see what you see. It just looks like dabs of different colors to me, without form or anything.” The artist said, “Oh I forgot. I’m seeing it as it will be when finished. You are seeing it as it is now.”

This is what Paul was doing. He was seeing these Christians as they would be and he is thanking God that it will happen. What a comforting verse. Many times, when I am discouraged with myself and utterly devoid of being what I ought to be. I am so aware of the deceitfulness of my own flesh. Even when I want to be what I ought to be, I end up deceiving myself. I see the absolute futility of depending on me to get this job done. In those times, I try to remember this verse, “being confident of this very thing that He who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

Because this good work was begun, Paul was confident of its completion. God is a worker who completes His works. Spurgeon said, “Where is there an instance of God’s beginning any work and leaving it incomplete? Show me for once a world abandoned and thrown aside half formed; show me a universe cast off from the Great Potter’s wheel, with the design in outline, the clay half hardened, and the form unshapely from incompleteness.”

This means that life is not perfect yet. It has a passable goal, and it is a goal that will be reached, and the final responsibility is not in my hands but in God’s. I love that! Paul’s confidence is placed in a Person, not on himself. If we know Christ, we are all in the hands of the One who can change us. “Sometimes we don’t want to be what God wants us to be but it’s being done in us despite us. God knows how to bring us into the circumstances that will make us willing to be made willing, if He needs to” (Piper). It’s a great consolation to recognize in whose hands we are. The impression is often given by we Christians today that our main task is to keep Christianity going. Christianity didn’t start that way. The early Christians gave the very clear impression that it was their faith in Christ that kept them going. There are those who tell us that we can lose our Christian life, but if this is something we can lose, then it must be based on some human factor that depends on us. And if it depends on us, then we can’t depend on it. I am so grateful that this rests upon a Person who is capable of doing the work, and who has promised to complete it. Thanks be to God who is able to keep us from falling.

Prayer

Lord, keep me from foolishly thinking that it is the struggle I engage in or the activity that I fulfill or my busyness that accomplishes Your will today. Allow me to realize that it is what I am in Jesus Christ, and all the marvelous love of You Being flooding through my soul, into my experience and actions.

Life Application: Joy is ‘the serious business of heaven’. It is a consequence of being preoccupied with the living and indwelling Christ, confidant that He will complete His redeeming work in us and through us (Peter Kennedy). Are we there yet? No, but God isn’t finished either, so let’s pay attention.

 

Tom Renew

Deeper In God’s Word

Resources:

Peter King – Devotions from Philippians – Dailydevotional.com

Mark Driscoll – sermon – Hearing With Faith

Francis Chan – Living Courageously

Steven Mulkey – God’s Good Work In Us

John Piper – sermon – We Will Arrive Blameless

 

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