Starting is great. The beginning of a project or a plan or a vacation or even just the start of a new day, all bring with them hope and excitement. The only thing better than starting is completing. When I close the last page of a book or come to the end of a long project, there is such a sense of accomplishment and achievement.
The middle part is messy and provides stops and starts and stumbles that lead to giving up at times. But when we push past those places and work hard the joy of the completion is extra exciting.
Often we approach our walk with Jesus in this way. We look to others expecting completion. Or we look to our own stumbling hearts and get frustrated at the lack of completion. But to his letter to the Philippians, Paul reminded the ragamuffin group of believers of something he was sure of.
I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.Philippians 1:6
Nothing that we can muster up or mess up can thwart the ability of the One who began the good work of sanctification in a believer. God alone is the true Completer. He completes that which He started. He completed His work of Creation in Genesis and He completes the good work of sanctifying those who are His.
So if it is all in God’s capable hands, then why does Paul write this whole letter encouraging these believers to press on for unity, joy and leaning into God?
God has allowed us to participate. He calls us, conforms us and completes us but all the while, He invites us into greater intimacy with Him as we cooperate with His Spirit within us.
Cooperating with God’s work in us is simply slowing down to listen to His heart as we seek clarity and direction in this dark and distracting world. He is the One who wills and works in us for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). We need only to lean in to Him and His Word.
This morning, I filled the mug with steaming coffee, settled into my favorite chair and asked God to speak, yet again, through His life-giving Word. Making ourselves available to His work in us by consistently meeting with Him, is how we cooperate with His work of completion.
He reminded me of His character, through His Word today. I looked at the facts in the verses I unfolded and God led me to the lesson that my confidence needs to be in Him not in myself. The conviction of where I try to control, manipulate and “fix” others or myself washed over me. I confessed it and agreed with God that His way is always better.
I journaled about those I love as I laid them one by one into His capable hands, trusting that He will bring to completion the work He began in each one of them.
God began a good work at salvation when my husband, and each of my sons surrendered to Him. He is the One who will bring that work to completion, not me. Ouch. The sting of remembering my way isn’t the way that works came followed by the reminder of His goodness and grace and ability to do all things well (from Mark 7:37).
Yearning for the completion God will bring requires resting in Him and His promises, knowing that completion will come when we gaze at Him face-to-face.
So today, I will entrust my loves once again to the One who began a good work in them, and in me, and promises to bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Who do you need to lay into His capable hands today, sweet reader? Prayerfully offer them to Him by name and trust His good work in their lives.
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