“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6, NASB)
I’ve begun some great projects that sadly produced sluggish progress and/or resulted in unimpressive endings. There was that quilting lesson my sisters and I had as homeschoolers in Germany. I carefully chose my fabrics, came up with a design and started hand sewing. “Started” is the key word here. However, my sweet mother has hung up my unfinished quilt in the five houses my parents have lived in since then. (I unofficially titled it “A work in progress.”)
In my middle school band I volunteered with other flutists to learn how to play the trombone for a few songs that needed more brass instruments. Even with the excitement of learning a new instrument, the case ended up collecting dust under my bed as soon as we had played through the songs.
I have a pencil sketch I started last year that is still waiting to be completed with watercolors. Isn’t it comforting to know that it’s not in God’s character to abandon His work in our lives?
The verse above says that the work God begins in us isn’t just ok, so-so, or second-rate. It’s good. To me, at first glance, “good” doesn’t sound all that exciting. Words like “awesome,” “amazing,” or “incredible” sound more appealing. With a closer look, the Hebrew word agathós for “good” in this verse is same word Jesus uses to describe God in Mark 10:18. Now that’s really “good”! I’ll take it!
We’re also told that God will perfect this good work in us. Unlike my quilt, God’s work in me won’t be halfway done or even just one stitch away from being complete. God isn’t lazy, doesn’t get side-tracked or lose interest in the work He begins in us. He will completely accomplish when He set out to do. We can rely on God’s word and character that this will happen.
It’s been neat to see the kinds of works God has done in me since being on the mission field. In the last four years God has stretched and shaped me in ways I never could have imagined. There are several areas of my life where I know for sure that God is still working on and in me.
I’m reminded by what my pastor in Hawai‘i often says: “God’s promises are His to keep.” So when the Bible states that God will accomplish what He began in me, I can trust this—and Him—with the utmost confidence.
Warmly in Christ,
“‘I am the Lord, that is My name;
I will not give My glory to another,
Nor My praise to graven images.
Behold, the former things have come to pass,
Now I declare new things;
Before they spring forth I proclaim them to you.’
Sing to the Lord a new song,
Sing His praise from the end of the earth!
You who go down to the sea, and all that is in it.
You islands, and those who dwell on them.” (Isaiah 42:8-10, NASB)
What are some new ways for you to praise God or sing Him “a new song”?
What good work would you like for God to begin in you?
As this new year begins, what things in your life need to be “former,” released in order to make room for God to do something new?