“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (Philippians 1:6 NLT)
One of the beauties of the Bible is that the Holy Spirit can use the same verse to speak in different ways. I’ve read this verse many times, yet the Lord spoke to me in a different way today. Let’s walk slowly through this important message from the heart of God.
First, notice that the Author and Finisher of any good work in us is God. He’s the One who starts, continues, and finishes any good work within us. Why is that important? Largely because if we aren’t consciously aware of the good that is derived from our lives coming from God, we’ll be tempted to take credit for it ourselves. We want to think more highly of ourselves than we should. Or we’ll discount it, not realizing how much God is doing in us.
Notice, too, Paul says: “good work,” not “good works.” Remember, one of the products (fruit) of our lives that God is developing in us is goodness. “Good works” should emanate naturally and with more frequency the longer we walk with Jesus. His Holy Spirit indwells us, and, ideally, is living His life out though us in constant and sometimes unexpected ways.
We’re designed to be a funnel through whom God can work, giving expression to HIS goodness in and through us. As the Fruit of the Spirit takes root and begins to “sprout” in our life, good words, good deeds, good attitudes, good expressions of love, kindness, etc. will naturally flow from us as evidence of God’s work in us.
Notice, too, that the good work that God has started will continue long after we’re gone. How can that be? The exponential effect of God’s ministry in us will not be complete until Jesus returns. That’s what Paul says in this verse: “God…will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
One of the beautiful things about our life in Christ is that it will never die. Yes, of course, spiritually we live forever, but that’s not what Paul is saying here. He’s confirming something that is so encouraging I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I’m serious. Even as I’m typing these words my emotions are moving me to tears.
To think that God loves us and is so invested in us that the life He is living in us continues long after we’re gone is a tribute to His grace, mercy, and kindness. You see, it’s not only the good work that we do, but also the good work – GOD’S good work – that we ARE!
The opening words of Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life are: “It’s not about you.” God has far greater plans for the good work that you are becoming than this world can contain. Satan wants us to believe that our impact in and on this world is minimal, but God uses every act of kindness, every thoughtful word, every unselfish expression of love, to every person whose lives our life touches, in ways that we can’t begin to comprehend and won’t fully know until we get to heaven.
In Hebrews 12:1 the writer refers to a “huge crowd of witnesses” that I envision crowding the balconies of heaven waiting to greet us when we arrive. But what if these “witnesses” are the people whom God used us to bless in ways we weren’t even aware. What if the exponential effect of our efforts to bless one person, led to the blessing of hundreds or thousands or millions of people who will one day be in heaven because of the powerful way God is working in and through your life.
Never underestimate the “Good Work” you are.
Blessings, Ed 😊