“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:6 NASB
confident – πείθω – peitho -reflexively or passively to assent (to evidence or authority), to rely (by inward certainty) – Sometimes a legal term that assesses the evidence and assents to the assertion that the evidence has presented. ALSO: You know you can trust this because you have seen that everything else has been trustworthy.
began – ἐνάρχομαι – en-ar’-khom-ahee – to commence on. Picture an action that had a starting place in time and space, and that action continues to apply itself endlessly over time. It had a start, and will not stop until all conditions are met.
good – ἀγαθός – ag-ath-os’ – A primary word; “good” (in any sense, often as noun): – benefit, good (-s, things), well. Beneficial.
work – ἔργον – er’-gon – From ἔργω ergo¯ (a primary but obsolete word; to work); toil (as an effort or occupation); by implication an act: – deed, doing, labor, work.
perfect – ἐπιτελέω – ep-ee-tel-eh’-o – to fulfill further (or completely), that is, execute; by implication to terminate, undergo: – accomplish, do, finish, (make) (perfect), perform (X -ance). It is contract and engineering language. Start building, keep building, complete building. It is not built completely until it is perfected.
Two More Definitions:
Strong Language: Not coarse. Spoken with authority. Often direct. Not mincing words. Word usage that is intended to make one think. It is the language of the Teacher to the student. Plain Speaking. Getting to the heart of the matter. Meat, as opposed to milk.
Weak Language: Imprecise, Sugar coated and sweet; words that dilute the meaning or intent of the lesson that needs learning. Words for words sake, or words that weaken the intent of the lesson. Words that remove, rather than reinforce the need to actually apply it for learning, or being, or doing. It is the language of people who would rather play church than follow Christ. All milk, 2% or less milk fat, and sweetened to make it easier to swallow.
I had driven half way home, the day I lost my job at the Military base. I knew what God as asking me to do. While I look for work, WRITE. I had openly and consciously given my life to Christ as Lord a few years earlier. He was no longer “just my savior”.
I have a LOT of rough edges. I asked God what about those rough edges.
“Are you giving your entire life to me?” He asked.
“Yes, Lord, I am. ”, I replied.
“Because if you are not willing to give me 100%, we will be back where we started.”, He commented, but with gentleness and grace.
My courage and confidence in God increased when He asked me that. Coming from anyone else, I might have argued about work load, scheduling, time off, benefits, etc. When He asked me that, though, I felt compelled to throw my self into this hair, hat and all. I had tried doing it my way for way too long. I did not like the results.
I needed God to do this for me. I told God, “Lord, I want to be the very image of Christ, in every way possible. I want to live for Christ, now. I am done living this miserable life.”
“OK! That is what I needed to hear from you.”, He beamed. THAT felt good. This feels real. It didn’t have that half-hearted commitment thing going on in my heart. I could feel my roots already starting to go deep.
I had already been around the barn a million times with Him over what He had asked me to do, so I didn’t want to do THAT again. I am to write something EVERY DAY! Period.
It was my habit, in the past to run ahead of God. Most of it was sheer excitement to be doing something. But when I did that, I did it on my own power, my own way. God doesn’t do the division of labor, thing. You either want to be like Christ, or you don’t. You will submit to Jesus as Lord, or you won’t.
And that is where I had questions.
“Lord,” I asked, “I am not exactly like Jesus, you know. I mean, ask any Christian you happen to see, ‘Who’s the best Christian? It wouldn’t be me’.”
I swear, I heard Him chuckle. “No, Dave, it wouldn’t. Not this minute. And not immediately.”
“Well, God, WHAT DO I DO???”, I asked, mostly out of impatience, and mostly because I knew just how depraved I had become of these last two decades.
“I thought you’d never ask.” He said with a smile. (Frankly, I was not used to anyone being this nice to me, and it was GOOD!)
“Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him.” Psalms 37:4-7a KJV
“REST?!?!?!”, “WAIT PATIENTLY?”, “REALLY?!?!?!?”, “God, you may not have noticed this, but I am REALLY in need of a LOT of repair, and you want me to REST?” I screeched.
“David, way back in 1987, when you first came to me, what was the very first thing I asked you to do?”, he gently asked me.
“Um…er…Let’s see…boy, that was a long time ago.” I stalled
“Uh HUM!”, He replied.
“OH! I remember, You told me to rest.”, I cowered and sorta whispered.
“Yes, David, I told you to rest. And since that is where we left off, that is where we will continue. While you obey me, you will rest in me. Learn the word. Learn to pray and praise. THAT is when I will affect the changes in you so that you will be just like Jesus. You cannot do this for your self, and you cannot do it by your self. Only I can do this thing in you.”, God instructed.
Resting was hard at first. But I want to be like Christ. I want my life to have an eternal, and holy consequence while I am still alive. For once in my life, I obeyed. I obeyed because I consciously chose to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God. And Jesus died for my sin, and He rose again on the third day, to prove He has the authority to grant me eternal life, and I asked God to make me the reflection of Christ.
I no longer felt any doubt that this is what God intends to do in me. I knew then that God intends to do this in ALL the humans who accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
It began in 1987. That was the point in time that I made the decision. I wandered in a wilderness of my own making for 20+ years. But the grace of God watched over me, and in His mercy, He carried me through that wilderness. And now, I have returned to Him, to home, where my heart has always wanted to be.
Then I understood this:
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” – Php 2:13 – KJV
Last time, I tried to run ahead of God and take care of becoming like Jesus on my own. Well, THAT didn’t work out so well. But because my heart has genuinely surrendered to Christ as Savior AND Lord, the Spirit of God is able to work in me, and to open my eyes, so that I can see that resting is exactly what I am to do. Changing my life to be a reflection of Jesus is GOD’S work, through the Holy Spirit. Anytime I try to take over and do it myself, I mess things up.
While I pursue obedience to what He has given me to do (WRITE!), HE will affect in me the changes HE sees I need in order to be like Jesus. I simply cannot do it. It is God who does all the heavy lifting, not me.
“When you feel the temptation to take over, remember Carrie Underwood’s song, “Jesus Take the Wheel.”, OK?
“Yes Sir. THAT will not be a problem, it is a great song that brings tears to me eyes, sung by a great singer who is easy on my eyes.”
I swear I felt Him Gibbs Slap the back of my head. (That actually works on me.)
“That is the FIRST THING we will work on, mister.”
“Yes Sir, I am sorry.”
“Next time, keep your eyes on me. I will empower you to do this, but it is still your choice. I prefer obedience rather than sacrifice.”
And that was lesson one. It was not all that difficult. I saw how it affected God when I sin, and when He corrected me about it, He didn’t do what Satan does; accuse me. He simply showed me how it looks in His eyes. And I didn’t like what I saw. I give that part of my self to Him. He took the wheel.
The more I rest in Him, and obey what He has given me to do, the more things He is able to deal with in my life. When we obey, His love grown in our heart. His power and authority grows in us. There are some temptations I am really in love with, but God is able to break that bond and free me from them. They are fading into insignificance.
Now, all I want to do is follow Jesus. I give my life totally to Him. As I obey, as I seek the Lord with all my heart, the more He reveals to me: Of His will for me, of His character, of His Grace, Mercy and Love. The terrible anger I used to carry around, that was part of my life from when I turned 17, is gone. It is gone. And I don’t miss it.
Dear reader. God wants to do this in your life, too. When you surrender to Him, HE will change your heart, and you will welcome the change. He does this because it is his STRONG desire to give you all the Holy Gifts of Heaven, so that, while you are still here on Earth, you will be the image of Christ. You just may be the only Jesus some lost soul will see. Rest in Him. Receive His gifts.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning”. – Jas 1:17 KJV
Let’s be about it.
I Love you.
David G. Perkins