“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6 (NLT)
When God begins a work, He always completes it! You may not feel like you’re making much progress in your faith or that you’ve even stalled, but take heart, God is not through working on you or me! I find so much encouragement in this verse that Paul wrote to Christ followers in Philippi. As difficult as I find the Christian life to live today, I can’t imagine what these struggling saints experienced in the first century. The church was in its infancy and the New Testament was not even available. Yet, Paul writes these words of encouragement to strengthen their new-found faith in Jesus. Let’s unpack this verse and discover some liberating truths that will encourage us in our walk with Jesus today. Maybe you just began that walk or maybe you’ve been on the journey of faith for years. Either way, consider this:
First, God began the work He is doing in your life! He chose you! He sought you and found you when you were hopelessly lost and ensnared by destructive habits. How awesome is that? From our perspective, we sometimes think we found God; but, in truth, He found us! Jesus told a seeking tax collector named Zacchaeus that He came to seek and to save those who were lost. (Luke 19:10). Make no mistake. It was God who began the work He is doing in your life!
Second, the work that God is doing in your life and mine is a good work! You may not think you are the person you should be all the time, but be encouraged – you’re not the person you used to be! God is doing something good and wonderful in your life! In Ephesians 2:1-5, the Bible says,
“Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world … All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. … But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by grace that you have been saved!)”
He brought us from death to life in Christ! Through His grace, He began a good work in us that is transforming us into the very likeness of His Son by the power of His indwelling Spirit!
Third, the very God who began a good work in you will continue His work until it is completed! Don’t lose heart! He’s not through working on you! And He won’t quit! He won’t give up on you! He will finish what He started! Even when I don’t feel like I am making progress, God is still at work completing what He began! Let the process continue. In fact, God will continue His good work in you until it is finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
What is the work God is doing? His work for us began when Jesus gave His life for us on the cross to reconcile us to God. His work in us began when we first believed and received His grace to save us. He works through us by His indwelling Holy Spirit to accomplish His good purposes for us making us more like Jesus every day. This is the process of spiritual growth and maturity that began when we accepted Christ as our Savior from sin and continues until we see Him face to face! It’s how He develops the character of Christ in us.
The really great news is that He does the work! The Christian life was never about you or me trying our best to imitate Jesus. That’s a recipe for frustration and failure. Only Jesus can be Jesus. So, let God be God in your life. Let Him do the work as you yield to Him daily and deepen your relationship with Him. It will take the pressure off and allow you to enjoy the process!