Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Perfecting of Our Faith

The past two weeks have been rather dark in my life.  For a myriad of reasons, the evil one has seen fit that clouds of sadness have lingered over my spiritual house.  It has been a trying time indeed.  I am not fully out of the darkness but today I rejoice because I feel a slight bit of warmth from the light of hope.

I found myself returning to one of my favorite Scriptures.  It can be found in the letter to the Philippians, first chapter, and verse six.  This letter is a thank you note from Paul for a gift they had sent him while Paul was imprisoned in Rome.  Paul’s purpose is not only to teach theology but to call the church in to unity on the basis of the servant-mentality and humility of Christ. 

“I am confident of this; that He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it in and carry it on to full completion until the day of Christ’s return”

In this verse, Paul recognizes the work God has done in the hearts of the Philippians and also the continued work of grace that God will do through-out their life and up to the moment of Christ’s victorious return to earth.

There is a wonderful promise in this verse.  First, God started the work within our hearts and second, He WILL be faithful to complete it.  In other words, God is preparing our hearts and souls for the exact moment of the return of His Son.  God is faithful to us – yes – even when OUR faithfulness wanes.  The work is God’s.  He began it the moment we accepted the consecration of our hearts in to the servant ministry of Christ.  What exactly is this work though?

This work is the perfecting of our fellowship with one another in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

But I believe there to be one more important lesson to learn here.  You see, God didn't start a work in us to bring us to the moment of our own death.  He isn't working on us to bring us to the final seconds of this life so that we are ready to enter the life eternal.  No – that works is OURS to do.  But God is working WITH us to prepare us for the return of Christ.  Not the ‘end of all things’ but for the beginning of all things.

God begins many things in us throughout our life.  He plants seeds of hope and of dreams and ambitions.  And He continues to work those out in us as part of the process of a life designed for the Kingdom of God.  Not the kingdom of man.  Our knowledge that God is continually working in us, through us, and around us AND, many times, in spite of us, should serve us well in lifting us out of those dark times in our lives when we cannot see the direction we are going. 

The past two weeks I have not been able to see any further than the moment in which I was living.  This did not bring me joy because I had no light to see.  The moment is great WHEN you can see it.  But when you are suddenly thrust in to darkness it can be very disturbing.  You know that feeling when you go outside in the bright summer light and then walk back inside your home?  You can’t see anything, really.  You stretch your eyes wide open as if that’s going to increase your ability to see but your eyes are still adjusting from the massive amount of intense light that was just thrown at them.  You can’t see – so you wait for the darkness to subside and you are able to see well. 

Today God began to lift that darkness and my eyes are just now adjusting properly to the light.  He gave me hopes, He gave me ambitions, He gave me dreams to dream AND to build – and He has been faithful in carrying out His work.  Shall I be passive in my work or shall I also participate in the work that will bring me to the moment of Christ’s amazing return?  I rejoice because by God’s Grace, and only by His Grace, I am able to see through the darkness of the evil one, and once again take another step in my journey that God has prepared for me.

May God’s Grace grant you safe passage through every darkness that will come in to your life.  May you hold fast to the promise that the One who began an amazing work in you, will continue working it out until the moment of Christ’s return.  Work not for your own death but work for the return of the resurrected Christ.

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