You Are Not in the Completing Business

January 12, 2016

Are you a “fix-it” type?

You know … the kind of person that wants to be proactive in fixing the problems in your life and sometimes the lives of others? Maybe it shows up when you try to mend relationships with those who are close to you or in your attempts to raise your kids to love God and love people.

I am.

Unfortunately, this overambitious “fix-it” mentality sometimes bleeds into our relationship with God and we make ourselves the handyman (or handywoman) of our spiritual lives.

This isn’t necessarily always a bad thing, but we have to be careful.

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)

One of the reasons I love the Gospel of Jesus is because it’s so other. It’s different than what our culture tells us and has the power to lift the heavy burdens we carry off our shoulders (see Matthew 11:30). So, when it comes to fixing the cracks and dents in our lives, the Gospel is the answer for that. When we see that God begins a good work in us, we can begin to feel relief. Why? Because it’s God who has initiated everything (including our salvation), not us.

But that’s only half the story.

When I think about promises like this one, pay close attention to the word “will.” Nobody makes a promise by saying, “I promise I might pay you back.” That just sounds ridiculous.

Here, the apostle Paul tells us that God will bring the good work in us to completion. He says, essentially, “what God started here … will be done there … so I am confident that God is doing the work on you today.”

Do you see the beauty in that?

You are not in the completing business.

God is the completor! He initiated it all; He saved you, He will save you, and He is saving you. The work of transforming you into the likeness of Jesus is not your work to do.

Sometimes we lack joy because we don’t see the change in ourselves (or others) that we imagined. So we worry and fret and wish things were different and end up futilely trying harder. Then, when our spiritual lives are one step forward and two steps back, we lose heart. We get discouraged because we think we are in the completing business. But we aren’t.

“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.”

That’s good news.

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