Philippians 1 & 3
I build stuff, usually with wood. I build boxes and trays and shelves and sometimes small furniture pieces. When i build once i get the basic form done and it works like it should i feel like I’m finished, like the project is finished. Recently i was given a birdhouse by a friend of mine and it is beautiful. He actually sanded it, put a coat of varnish on it then sanded between coats a put on another coat of varnish.
In contrast to my level of craftsmanship When God builds something God does the finish work. I am one of his projects. All of us who accepted Jesus as our savior are a project that God is working on. We may feel complete once major construction is done, the frame work is in place. But God carries every project to its finished completion.
In his letter to the Philippians Paul wrote about God’s work in us.
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 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 –
He goes on to say in chapter 3
“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. But we must hold on to the progress we have already made. Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.
In the midst of reading in Philippians i read Ezekiel 37. Ezekiel wrote about the valley of dry bones. Even after the skeletons were complete they weren’t finished, God’s Spirit needed to fill them.
“So I spoke this message, just as he told me. Suddenly as I spoke, there was a rattling noise all across the valley. The bones of each body came together and attached themselves as complete skeletons. Then as I watched, muscles and flesh formed over the bones. Then skin formed to cover their bodies, but they still had no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to the winds, son of man. Speak a prophetic message and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.’” So I spoke the message as he commanded me, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army.
Ezekiel 37:7-10 –
I don’t know why I’m stuck in this rut of being finished as in a craft or project built by a master and not finished until the finish is finished but here I am. And then I read the verses in Ezekiel where the bones were assembled and all the other fleshy parts were there but still they were not finished until God’s Spirit filled them.
Having God’s Spirit enter us does not finish us, but it does start the finish work because it starts the project God wants to work in our life and whatever God starts, he finishes.
I have written this post over several weeks and I’m not sure that it ever really congealed.
I end with where I started, a promise by God to finish what he has started in each one of us who have been adopted into his family through the death and resurrection of Jesus.
“he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
If you have not yet been adopted into God’s family, you can be. Today you can finalize the adoption.
“If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.”
Today is a good to be adopted and start the finish work.