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“A Good Work”

November 7, 2009

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

This is possibly one of my favorite passages in the Bible. For some reason, it has always felt the most like me. When I picture Paul exulting the people of Philippi, earnestly loving and rejoicing with them, I feel it is one of the small ways in which I can relate to this Biblical giant. Paul can, at times, frustrate me because he pushes so hard. I read his letters and just want to throw my hands in the air and yell, “Okay, okay, fine, you’re right! But jeez, I’m only human, Paul, okay? I’m not Wonder Woman!” (All this imaginary dialogue, while a bit zany, is therapeutic for me — Paul may push, but he also teaches me to push back. I’ve always been feisty, but the encouragement helps — even when it comes from a long-dead Biblical figure.)

Anyway, back to the passage at hand! I love the affirmation of these words — I’m definitely one for affirmation, both in giving and receiving, and it resonates deeply with me for the letter to start off that way. But tonight, as I listened to my newly acquired audio version of the TNIV (thanks Ed Dobson and Zondervan!), the phrase that struck me the most was this: “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion.”

Whatever your “good work” is, carrying it alone can be an awfully burdensome thing. Struggling to be enough and do enough within the framework of the kingdom of God is utterly exhausting and in moments like these, there is nothing stronger to fall back on than these words. These words remind me that I am not alone, and I never have been. I have never been the only one stubbornly trucking along in all this mess and no matter what I’m throwing myself into, it all finds its roots in Jesus. He is the one who began this good work in me, and He is the one who will finish it. I have never been going at this thing by myself. This doesn’t make me a puppet or He the master of the strings; it simply identifies Him as the source for all the strength, the guts, the determination and the willfulness that it takes to keep pushing this good work on.

REMINDER TO SELF: We were never supposed to do this by ourselves. We never could do it by ourselves. God designed it that way on purpose.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 15, 2009 3:58 am

    I Can Do It. The positive affirmation video.
    Check it out on my website! Peace.

  2. Caroline permalink*
    November 15, 2009 11:05 pm

    @ Gregory!

    Always a good sentiment to remember! Thanks for reading. 🙂

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