January 5, 2017

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.

This is a marvelous promise that we often forget, in relation to ourselves and in relation to others. We may have trouble finishing what we start, but God has no such difficulty. This isn’t to say that no one ever gets off track and suffers for it, but it is to say that the final outcome is always in God’s hands. We sometimes despair over our own lack of progress, as we see it, but the very fact that we’re upset about it is clear proof that God is still working in us. We also get upset about those we care about failing to walk in fellowship with the Lord they profess. We can’t change them directly, but by praying for them and speaking the truth in love, we can be God’s instruments for the work that He is doing in them, as this verse talks about. The Bible leaves no room for complacency, for taking things for granted, but it also makes it very clear that God is God, and totally to be trusted. What He asks of us is our will, the choice to turn to Him in love and obedience. The stronger that choice, the more we are aware of the many ways in which we fall short of perfection. This verse should comfort everyone who finds himself in that situation.

As a pastor, I need to remind myself of this truth in relation to those under my care. I’ve got to remember that I can’t carry them in my own strength, and I’m not supposed to. God is able to bring to completion what He has begun in them. If it’s something I’ve done, then it’s meaningless in the first place. Part of my problem in ministry is plotting in my own mind what the best course for a particular person would be, and then trying to make that happen. That’s doomed to failure, for them and for me! I’ve got to be active in placing everyone and everything in God’s hands, while keeping myself available for however God wants to use me in what He is doing. I am never to excuse sin, in myself or in others, but I am to forgive. I am not to ignore others, but neither am I to allow people to monopolize me and keep me from tasks the Lord has for me. Recently a great deal of my time has been taken up with helping a particular person. That isn’t bad, but the Lord reminded me this morning of some other things that have to be taken care of that I’ve been letting slide. What God is doing in me includes accurate time allocation and faithfulness in follow-through. I’m not to be anxious about any of it, but remember that God is indeed faithful to complete what He has begun.

Father, thank You for all You enabled us to get done yesterday. There’s a lot on the schedule for today as well. Help me not panic about any of it, but do each step in turn, not relying on my own understanding but listening obediently to You every moment. May I be a pure, open channel of Your grace and love in all that You allow me to do, so that Your work may be advanced not only in me but in everyone around me as well, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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