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.
I have read this scripture probably 100 times, especially verse 6, and just noticed the context.
On his second missionary journey, Paul helped start a church in Philippi, located in what is northeast Greece today. These believers became friends and strong supporters of Paul, sending him aid when he was in prison in Rome. Many of these people were retired Roman soldiers. They knew what Roman prisons were like.
So, in gratitude, Paul writes a letter, to thank them for their friendship and for sending support, and to encourage them in their faith.
Now Paul had spent some time in Philippi, accompanied by Silas, preaching the gospel. It was there that Paul cast the spirit of divination out of a woman, which angered the merchants who sold idols. That earned them a beating and night in jail. But God sent an earthquake which unlocked all the prisoners’ shackles, and actually led to the salvation of the jailer and his whole household. Not what the officials had planned, but God had a better idea.
The next morning, the officials were alarmed because they had ordered the flogging of Roman citizens without a trial (a big no-no). And that could land them in trouble with Rome! These same officials actually “requested” them to leave the city. Paul knew his friends and spiritual children would face hard times and opposition, but he had to leave. So, Paul and Silas encouraged the believers, and left, eventually going to Thessalonica. You can read about this in Acts 16.
Now, I’ve been a believer for over 40 years, and still struggle with “issues.” I’m sure the church in Philippi still had “issues” when Paul left. But Paul didn’t leave them with a list of rules to follow. He didn’t call out their “issues.”
He also didn’t leave them with a step-by-step discipleship plan. You know what I mean. Do this and this and this… and don’t do that.
Instead, he entrusted the Philippians to God. “I always pray with joy… 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.
They were God’s children and, ultimately, God would grow them up by the Holy Spirit! He just prayed for them, placing them in the hands of their Heavenly Father.
How often have I worried about my kids? Instead, I will pray for them and entrust my children – ALL my children – spiritual and biological children – to Almighty God, Who loves them and knows them and won’t give up on them.
He will finish the good work He has started. I am not their finisher. He is.
One thought on “The Finisher”
Great reminder. I have had to “let go” many times, especially my one son (who was my miracle baby). I haven’t seen him in over 8 yrs. However, I don’t dwell on the pain nor feeling hated and rejected by him. I know that Father God is working in his life, whether I see it or not. He will finish the good work He has started in him (AND me) and I am thankful.