1Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons: 2Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6And 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.
The Lord will finish what He starts. Everything we are experiencing in our lives as Christians is changing us. The good and the bad, the joy and the suffering, God is using all of it to mold and shape us. It’s called sanctification, and God means it for good.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for wholeness and not for evil to give you a future and a hope.” So often people say change is not a good process, but that’s not a true statement in light of Scripture, is it? The truth is, change may not be pleasant or easy, but it is good. It is also incomplete. In Romans 7:15 Paul says, “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” Have you ever felt like that? I have.
I remember when the light bulb first went on and I understood this insight. I would try so hard to be more like Christ but end up failing miserably. I too would “do the very thing I hate.” It’s also how I learned to be more gracious with others. I personally understand Paul’s frustration, and now can see that same frustration in my brothers and sisters in Christ. We just aren’t finished pieces yet. We are still a work in process, completed at the return of Christ. Psalm 138:8 confirms this plan, “The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.”
There was an artist who decided to paint a masterpiece. He purchased a very large canvas and began to paint the background. The artist’s friend stopped by and the artist was so engaged in painting the background he didn't even see his friend enter the room. Finally, he noticed his friend and asked what he thought of the masterpiece. His friend looks at it (the background only) and made this horrible face and said, “That is awful.”
Only seeing the background is our problem too. God’s plan for us isn’t finished, but we still judge His work based on our limited view and unfinished plan. How comforting for us to know that until we take our last breath, God’s work in us is still in process. He will finish what He starts. —John Tank
· What does it mean to me that God will finish what He starts?
· Is there anything I have been unwilling to let God change in me?
Prayer – Dear Father in heaven, change is never easy for me because I am fearful of it. Forgive me for fighting You on how You desire to complete what You started in me. I know Your Word says it’s for my good and Your glory, so please give me Your courage to allow those changes to happen in me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.