“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.” Philippians 1:6
Looking out at the blur of church members in the crowd, my seven-year old self began to nervously sing:
“He’s still workin’ on me,
to make me what I ought to be.
It took him just a week to make the moon and the stars,
the Sun and the Earth and Jupiter and Mars.
How lovely and patient He must be?
He’s still workin’ on me.”
30 years later, I wish Christ-centered heart-work felt playful and upbeat like the words of that song. Instead, discouragement closes in when I find myself stuck in a pattern of sin, wondering if I will ever change.
Weakness and failure in my flesh leads me to recognize only God can “create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me (Psalm 51:10).” I cannot create something new within myself, by myself. It is God alone who makes me into a new creation through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
In Genesis 1, God intentionally carries out the process of creation, one day at a time, by the power of His word. His spirit hovers over the deep waters, waiting to create light and life out of the dark void. The work He accomplishes each day is intentional, carried out in perfect order. The work on day one is required for the work on day two to survive and so on.
In the same way, the Holy Spirit is hovering over the deep, dark waters of our heart, waiting to create something new and good. The work God is intentionally doing within me right now is necessary for the righteousness of tomorrow to be born.
Therefore, we do not need to look ahead and consider the work that has not yet been done. We can embrace the work God is doing today. The work is unfinished. The work is good. One day the work will be complete.
On a small church stage 30 years ago, I confidently continued with:
“There really ought to be
a sign upon my heart:
Don’t judge him yet there’s an unfinished part.
But I’ll be perfect just according to His plan.
Fashioned by the Master’s loving hand.”
Friend, we are unfinished masterpieces carefully placed in God's loving hands. Although I am impatient for the work to be done, God is not. "With the Lord a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a day (2 Peter 3:9)."
What if we leaned into the struggle, confidently trusting God’s word to transform us one day at a time? Every brushstroke is well thought out and matters toward the outcome of His grand design. He who began this good work promises to make it complete.
How can we be more gracious toward others and ourselves, knowing that God is still at work?
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