Keeping Faith in the Perfecting Work of God
Bible Reading: Philippians 3 (emphasis on verses 8-16)
I love Philippians 1:6. It fills me with hope and confidence in my Savior. It reads, “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.” This picture Paul has painted gives me such comfort as I strive to live for God day in and day out. Sometimes, I can beat myself down by thinking that I should be better than I am. I have thoughts running through my head saying, “I have been a Christian for eight years now. Shouldn’t I know the Bible better than I do? And shouldn’t I be more consistent in my daily prayer and righteousness?” What Paul write in Philippians 1:6 reminds me that God is still working on me, and He will never stop! He does not grow impatient, but is faithful to finish what He starts. The work God has begun in each one of us will be brought to a glorious completion!
The entire book of Philippians is good at helping us refocus our hearts on Christ, but chapter three is especially powerful. Paul’s words and testimony here remind us that the goal of the Christian life is not success and affluence, but to become more and more like Jesus Christ our Lord. The things we accomplish in this life are not a reason for boasting, but we should be willing to count them all as lost and rubbish in order to gain Jesus Christ and the righteousness He gives. If we were able to feed every hungry person in the world, clothe every naked person in the world, and heal every sick person in the world, not even that righteousness can compare with the righteousness gained by faith in Christ! To know Jesus and to trust in Him as your Lord and Savior is the greatest righteousness to which we can attain. By all means, seek to do great things in this world to serve others, but do not count on these things to save you and redeem you in Gods eyes. Only Jesus can cleanse us from our sins and make us right with our Heavenly Father.
But even in light of all of these things we have thought about so far, we can still grow weary and discouraged if our focus on Christ shifts. We can easily begin comparing our faith to others, or maybe even the apostles of old. We place ourselves up against them to see how we measure up, and we see ourselves falling short. We must avoid this at all cost! Remember brothers and sisters, that God shows no partiality, but loves all of His children equally. Every morning you have to remind yourself that God loves you, and that He will never stop working on you. He never gives up on us and leaves us in our sinfulness, but He is always working to rid us of sin and fill us with His presence and holiness.
Still, it is comforting to read what Paul writes in 3:12-16. Even the great, magnificent apostle Paul himself had daily struggles. We can sometimes build up our biblical heroes and think that they were far superior to us, but they too struggled against sin and evil every day of their lives. We have to remember that Paul was not perfect, and that he too needed a Savior. Paul looked to Jesus to perfect him and work on him every day. Even as he writes this letter to the Philippians, Paul says that he has not attained perfect righteousness in his life. But his advice is good and memorable: forget what lies behind you, and press on towards Christ! Forget all the times and places you have fallen short, because Christ has covered them and cleansed you. Now, this very day, go forward! Run after God with all your heart and strength, and surrender to Him.
Call to Action: Philippians 3:17 teaches us to look to those more mature in faith as an example to follow. We all need someone in our life whom we can learn from and imitate. Choose wisely who this person is, because as they lead you and set the example, that is where you will follow and become like. Find a man or woman of God who faithfully walks with Christ, and remains humble as they rely on Him every day. Follow their example as you too strive to seek God every day of your life. Also, for your children, be the example for them. Be the Christian man or woman that they want to imitate. Lead them to Christ, and teach them to faithfully follow Him every day.