Prepare to listen. Light the 2nd purple candle. Be still and pray, Guide my feet today into the way of peace. (From Luke 1:79)
Read: Philippians 1:3-8
I thank my God every time I remember you, 4constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, 5because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. 6I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. 7It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel. 8For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus.
‘I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.’ I memorized this verse in my teens. I hoped it would give me the assurance I lacked (because I didn’t see much progress in my spiritual life) that, in the end, I’d make it, complete, whole and holy. Christ was doing a good work in me; Christ will bring that work to completion; this is the end goal God has for us. I repeated it over and over, wanting to believe its truth and desiring to trust (rest completely in Jesus).
Along the way I learned that Christ at work in me doesn’t mean I don’t have to do anything about getting to the goal of perfect completion of Christ’s work in me. Full engagement on my part is essential. We’re on a journey towards perfection, a journey that requires working with Jesus step by step. The journey matters and we’re called to consider the steps, the habits, the virtues we ought to be acquiring right now to reach the goal. Advent is a good season to pause and reflect on our necessary action so that we journey towards the goal confident of Christ at work in us.
What steps do you think you should make and what habits should you acquire to work with Christ to reach the destination complete in Christ?
Respond to Jesus in prayer
It’s comforting, Lord to know that you are at work within me. Guard me from laziness that suggests I therefore can do as I want. Give me wisdom to discern the steps and habits that I need today to work with you as I journey towards the goal of perfection in you. Amen.
Go and live obediently in the world, confident of Christ’s work in you.