This is Week 1 of THRIVE’s It’s Not About Me Series. Feel free to use these notes for yourself or group. I will be going through Philippians, key verse by key verse.
It’s Not About Me: My Completion
And 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. Philippians 1:6
The Apostle Paul is most likely imprisoned in Rome while writing this letter to the Philippian church. Paul mentions his confidence in the Philippians and God’s faithfulness to finish every good work he started in us. The key piece that brings context to this verse is “the day of Jesus Christ”. Without this phrase, we can lose site of the journey that feels long, but is short in reflection of eternity. The promise is true, but only at the end.
Sometimes we have dreams, personal goals and aspirations that our all our own and we can become discouraged when they are left untouched, unfinished or even destroyed. Further still, we can easily drive ourselves to see works that were started (churches, efforts, events, plans) by God through us and assume that this verse means that very work will be completed. This is just not always the case, the “good work” he started in is refers to the sanctification launch, after salvation we are on a journey of becoming more like Christ. The more we walk the journey the closer we come to his finished masterpeice, but it is in His time and only God calls it finished.
Rick Warren said this, “Where God guides, he provides. And where God leads, he meets our needs. But he’s going to test you first, because there is no testimony without a test.”
- You need to be sure
What happens when you are sure of something? What changes about your attitude, the way you carry yourself, your effectiveness and your outlook of the future?
What are the things we must be sure of? Who God is!
A.W. Tozer (my favorite author) said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
We live in a day that could care less about God, who He is or what He wants. God has been removed from schools, the workplace and our entertainment. We have confusion about our own identities, genders and marriages. The world hates a God who will judge, define good versus evil and allow bad things to happen. It is tough to be a young adult right now and have a truthful thought about God.
If we cannot get a solid and right idea about God, we must start there. So, let me give you this, We can be sure:
- That God is good and is good to you!
We see this in our salvation
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
We see this in his desire for relationship with us
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. James 4:8a
We see this in His faithfulness
Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens,your faithfulness to the clouds. Psalms 36:5
We see this in His provision for us
Matthew 6:25-36 (birds of the air, lilies of the field)
- Jesus began the “good” work, so Jesus will complete the “good” work
True spiritual growth depends on what you believe God has done, is doing and will do.
This does not mean that you will stand back and watch God move your entire Christian life, No! It means quite the opposite.
God expects to do the work, to live the life He desires for us. The difference is the peace and wisdom that I like to call favor. What does favor mean? Walking in favor means that you hear from God, you obey God, and He blesses your obedience. Favor is something that is built over a lifetime, but experienced daily.
- That your completion will not happen until the end
This is actually encouraging! There is no shame in the journey, the bible tells us about the journey
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. – 2 Cor 3:8
Telescope or Hiking
I was called to ministry as a young boy. Without going into my testimony too much, I held onto the call tightly until I discovered sin was fun. When I finally came back to Jesus and walked with Him, I was ready for Him to complete the work. I was making plans to go to school, travel the world, preach and teach from the rooftops. It was in the moments where I cleaned church bathrooms, setup for small groups, operated the computer and led youth games that God taught me some big lessons. My growth towards completion is based on how I learn from the small moments, the humbling ventures, what I saw as the mundane.
You see, I had a bad habit of looking at my purpose and call with a telescope. I can see it so close, as if I could just reach and grab it. However, once the telescope is pulled from my eyes, I see forest, desert, mountains and valleys, fires, storms, fog and more. I have to walk through all of it to get to my fulfilled purpose and calling.
Never Tell Them Early
My wife and I have a rule about telling our children anything about future events. We do not tell our children anything until we know it will happen and even then, only the info they need to get ready or prepared. We want to be a blessing to our children and not fill them with disappointment if we are just dreaming. It;s like out relationship with God, He tells us what we need to know, when we need to know it.
This is a promise we can count on! However, we should never call something “of God” that is of ourselves. If God starts it, He will finish it. Just know that he may use someone else to finish a work, but God is faithful to complete THE WORK that is YOU.
- What comes into your mind when you first think about God?
- What is the biggest worry you have right now?
- Do you know what you are supposed to do with your life? What is your purpose? If so, does slow growth or lack of completion frustrate you?