by Graham Mol
In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the believers in Philippi he says the following:
I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the Gospel from the first day until now, 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. (Philippians 1:3-6 NIV)
In saying this Paul points out a very important fact about our development and growth as believers. God is at work in us. “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Paul said he was confident of this, he knew it to be true, because he had and was experiencing this in his own life. Paul knew that he was a work-in-progress, and at the same time that it was God at work in him shaping him into the image of Jesus. Knowing these two facts about our growth as believers will keep us from the pitfalls of either self-righteous complacency or trying to achieve holiness purely through our own effort.
We are not perfect, we can pretty much all agree to that. Yet sometimes we settle on how we are as if we were perfect. We accept what we feel is “good enough” and as a result we are less open to being taught, to being rebuked, corrected or trained by God’s very word spoken to us (2 Timothy 3:16). Remembering that we are a work-in-progress as God works in us, helps us to remain humble and willing to grow further in our faith.
On the other hand we can get so consumed by trying to be a better Christian. Trying to do more, be more, achieve more, all in our own strength. We know that God is with us, that He gives us strength to do His will, yet we seem to continue trying to do it ourselves. That only if we can’t achieve it on our own, then we may just ask for help. So often this approach leads to despair for we cannot do it ourselves. We need to remember that “it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose,” (Philippians 2:13).
Let us be encouraged. God who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion. We’re not perfect, but with the Holy Spirit in us, as we walk in obedience to His will, we will day-by-day grow in our faith and become more like our Saviour, Jesus.