Encouragement for the Time in Between
Day: 15 | Plan: Christ Alone
Today’s Reading: Philippians 1:1-11
Philippians 1:6 (NIV) “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 is Paul’s letter of exhortation and appreciation to his friends in the church at Philippi. With Timothy’s help, Paul expresses his gratitude for their prayers and financial support. Oh, how the blessing of encouragement from brothers and sisters in Christ encourage me! Right when I need it the most, I might receive a handwritten note, or my phone alerts me of a text message saying, “I prayed for you today.” The leaders at Philippi must have felt loved as they read the letter to the church.
It’s important to note that Paul is writing this letter of encouragement from prison. Paul was arrested for preaching the gospel. (Acts 25) I find this amazing! In a place where he himself needed encouragement, Paul offered encouragement. Paul’s situation should challenge us. When we are in a prison of sorts, be it physical, financial or emotional, we can look not to what is happening to us, but what is happening through us.
Hard circumstances like Paul faced, and like we face, are the substance of God’s growth for the believer. In fact, this is one of the major themes of Philippians: God is sanctifying or maturing us through suffering. The good work God has begun in you, He will complete. God’s end goal is His own glory, and He is glorified when His children grow to be like Him!
God begins this good work, and He is faithful to complete it. But what did God start? God began His work in the hearts of individual believers in Philippi. Philippi is the first place in Europe where the gospel was preached. When Paul and Silas went to Macedonia to share the gospel with the Gentiles, Philippi was their first stop. This group of believers to whom Paul is writing was the first church in Macedonia. Because of their love for God and their “partnership in the gospel,” they have been sending him aid while he was imprisoned in Rome. God began the work, but they followed in obedience.
So … what do we do in between the beginning of the good work and its completion? We do what the Philippians did. We stay present in the present.
In the in-between time there are lessons to be learned, experiences to be had and faithfulness to be lived. Staying present in the present means we fiercely study God’s Word, pray fervently and obey everything God asks us to do. The time in between prepares us for what He has already prepared for us … in advance. (Ephesians 2:10) There are good works for us to do as God grows us into mature Christ followers.
This is sanctification, and God will one day complete that process for you and me. The day we see Jesus face-to-face, He will say to us, “It is finished.”
Prayer: Dear God, I am so grateful for the encouragement of Your Word. In a simple verse You can turn me from downtrodden to delighted. Help me to grow and mature in my faith; I want to make the commitment to stay present in the present. I want to learn everything You want to teach me in the process. I love You so much! In Jesus’ name, amen.
Tucked in Philippians 1 is a powerful, hope-filled prayer for the Philippians that their love... Read More
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