Friday, May 21, 2010

Not Quite Completion...Yet

"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 1:6

I'm not entirely sure what brought this verse to mind this morning. But there it is. I guess maybe I was kind of thinking the other day about our last few years, and how it's always seemed like we've had one issue after another where we were really seeking God and seeking answers and guidance for decisions we were making. But in the last few months, it's been, well, different, because we're in a place where we don't have a major decision to make. There isn't a big change looming ahead for us, and we're at a point where we just kind of keep on going.

But the thing to remember is that we have not arrived. We have not suddenly reached the pinnacle in life, and we shouldn't be content with where we are at all. We may not have a major decision in front of us, but we do have a brand new day each and every day. Every day we have a brand new opportunity to grab hold of the day and take advantage of our day. Every day we make the choice whether or not we're going to try and go a little deeper and a little further in our relationship with God.

That's what we should be after. Even though we're thrilled with where we are as far as making major decisions goes, we should not be content to just lay back and do nothing for awhile. In fact, we should do the exact opposite. We should take advantage of the fact that there isn't a pressing need in our lives that we're contending for, and we should dive in and try to soak up as much of God's Word as we can. When all is well with us, this is when we need to also turn our attention to others, and try to be an encouragement and lift others up in their times of need.

What makes me think of all this, is that as I read this verse today, my first thought was okay, God's not finished with us yet. He has us where He wants us, now what is He going to do with us. But then I read the verse fully, and I had to pause for a moment and read it again. I centered in on that word completion, and thought on it for a moment. Then I thought about completion.

When I bake a cake, there are many different stages of completion. There's the moment the batter has come together and I can put the cake in the oven. That's completion on my end, but the cake is not complete yet- it needs to bake. Later, the cake comes out of the oven, at another stage of completion, but really, it's not done yet. First it needs to cool, so it can come out of the pan. Finally, the cake is ready. But wait- first it needs some frosting, maybe a sprinkle or two to decorate. Now is it complete? Well, when I bake a cake for the first time, it isn't really complete until I've actually tasted it and seen for myself that it is a good cake. But maybe after tasting, I see where there can be changes or tweaks for next time. My cakes never really reach the state of absolute perfection and completion.

So to, is it with us, interestingly enough. There may be moments in our life where we feel a completeness. A moment where we may think that we have finally arrived where we want to be. Think of all those milestones in life: high school graduation, college graduation, marriage, children, grandchildren... All of these are important moments in a person's life, and there are many others too, but at each moment, we think that life can't possibly get any better than it is at that exact moment.

How awesome then, is it to read in Philippians that I will not actually find completion until the day of Christ? That means that I get to keep having these moments of mini-completion, these moments of joy and excitement, until the very day that Jesus comes to relocate His people! It also means that there will always be something to strive for- something to seek God for. It may very well be that many times, those moments are simply spent seeking more of Him. This verse is a good reminder today. It is great to look around, survey life, and be ever so thankful for the things that God has done. It's even better though, to think that it will get better than this. This level that we're at? It only goes up, it only gets better, and as we go up, our relationship with God will get deeper as we draw closer and closer to one another.

God started this work so long ago. He conceived of this work before time even really began, and He will not just set us aside because we've gotten to a particular stage in life. He will continue to work in us, and will continue to guide our paths and show us more of what He has to say to us. And this will continue all the days of our lives.

"In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6being 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 1:4-6

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