Have you ever started a project that was left unfinished? Most of us, if we are honest, would raise our hand. Myself included. (Presently, there is an unfinished painting that I may or may not complete.) Projects go unfinished for any number of reasons: boredom, too time consuming, another project takes it place, loss of interest, overwhelmed by it, etc. Many of us were taught by our parents to "finish what you start". That is a sound principle and a goal that we, for all intents and purposes aspire to do, however there may be times that things do not go as planned. Human nature kicks in, and projects go unfinished.
For some of us, an unfinished work can evoke a myriad of feelings--frustration, guilt, sadness, disappointment, anxiety, and so one. We may spiral into negative self-talk, laden with self-blaming, self-condemnation, and ridicule. We may even blame others for our inability to bring a project to completion.
In Philippians 1:6, Paul describes believers as God's work. The beautiful and encouraging promise that we receive from this text is that we can place our confidence in the biblical truth that God will complete the work that he has begun in our lives. The good news is that if you are a born-again Christian, then God has begun a GOOD work in you! No matter where you are in your journey or what you may be struggling to overcome, God will complete the work he has started in your life. He will never leave you unfinished. He is a God of mercy, patience, grace, kindness, and understanding.
Consider Paul, the writer of the Philippians, and his backstory. We first learn of Paul in Acts 9. Prior to his conversion, Paul was called Saul. He persecuted Christians. He was ruthless and cruel in his acts. Yet, one supernatural encounter with Jesus changed his life forever. No longer was he known as Saul. He was converted inwardly and outwardly. "Paul" was now a follower of Christ. Would you say that God had begun a "good work" in him? Scripture tells us that there is no respect of person with God (Romans 2:11). What he did in Saul/Paul's life, he can and will do in ours.
One of our greatest challenges as believers may be simply believing the aforementioned truth. It may be challenging to embrace this truth because we often align our reasoning with feelings and logic, present realities, past experiences, behaviors, and perceived failures and short-comings. If that is the case, it may be prudent to remember that we are not God and God is not us. We do not operate from the same plane. He is The Almighty, the great I AM. His ways are not our ways and his thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). Are you able to embrace this truth by faith? Are you able to confidently say, "Yes and amen!" (2 Corinthians 1:20) to the word of God as it relates to your life at this present moment?
Paul notes that we are "being confident". This is a perpetual state of being fully persuaded that God has begun a good work. When we feel as though we are at an emotional standstill or have even taken a few steps back, it is in those moments that it is needful to remind ourselves of the promise in Philippians 1:6. Because the work is not yet finished, our confidence must be continually activated.
There may be days in which we do not get it right, we drop the ball, we miss the mark--those are the moments to lean into the promises of God, bring our brokenness to The Father with heartfelt repentance (Psalm 51:17), renew our minds (Romans 12:2), and get back up (Proverbs 24:16). In so doing, we will experience victory (I John 5:4).
Father, in the name of Jesus, thank you for your word that gives life and illumination. Thank you that for every human experience, we can look to your word for understanding, help, solutions, encouragement, and inspiration. Thank you for never leaving us alone to figure things out for ourselves. Thank you for the guidance that your word provides. Thank you for the gentle nudges of your Holy Spirit to lead and instruct. Thank you for our Savior who accomplished all on the Cross so that we may experience life to the full (John 10:10). Father, we pray that you would renew our confidence in your eternal promises, renew our hope, renew our expectation, renew our zeal and thirst after righteousness. Thank you for beginning a good work in us. We trust and believe by faith that you will complete what you have started in our lives. In Jesus' name, Amen.