“God is the one who began this good work in you, and I am certain that He won’t stop before it is complete on the day that Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6 (CEV)
The moment we receive the Lord Jesus by faith and become a Christ follower, God begins a “good work” in us! Theologians call that good work sanctification. It means being set apart by God that we may become like the God to whom we are set apart. It’s the work of spiritual growth. God begins the good work of remodeling us from the inside out to look more like Jesus. If you check out the verse more, you realize that it’s a continuous work. “He won’t stop….” Everyday, through every circumstance that arises, God is at work transforming us into the likeness of His Son. He is remodeling our character, renovating our relationships and renewing our minds until we reflect His very own image.
I’ve discovered God’s work is a process with stages that often repeat in my life. It begins with a dream in my heart of what God wants to do in my life. It’s almost like the process you would see on an HGTV home makeover show. You envision what your house can become and then begin the stages of remodeling.
First is the demolition stage. If you’ve ever done any remodeling or repairs, you know how easy it is to lose sight of the dream when you’re tearing everything out. It’s messy! Before God can accomplish His good work in us, He begins with demolition. God demolishes our fears to build up our faith. He demolishes our pride, so He can fill us with His power, and He demolishes our doubts to build up our confidence in Him.
The second stage is delay. Who hasn’t experienced this when remodeling? What was supposed to take a few days turns into a few weeks or even months. We soon discover that the dream is going to take more time and cost more than we imagined. Contractors call this phase “managing expectations”. But, really, it’s what you do in the delay phase that will determine your destiny. Will you give up or trust the very God who began the good work to complete it? When you watch a home makeover show, they move from dream to demolition to done in half an hour! Somehow, they skip over the delays that are sure to come that can threaten the completion of the project. The problem with the delay stage is that it can lead to a third phase that seems like a dead end. I call this the desperation stage.
When you’re in the desperation stage, you feel like the dream has died. This will never get done! We will never be happy again! Our marriage has died. I’ll never get that job! When you lose hope, you start using that word never a lot. Maybe you’re there right now. Your dream has turned into a nightmare and you’ve lost hope. When you lose hope on the good work that God began, what do you do? Do what Abraham did.
“When there was nothing left to hope for, Abraham still hoped and believed. As a result, he became a father of many nations, as he had been told: ‘That is how many descendants you will have.’” Romans 4:18 (GW)
When you lose hope in your dream, put your hope in the dream giver. Rest in His promise that He is not done, and He won’t stop before it is complete on the day of Christ Jesus!