“Being confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.”
I love a good thriller. Tell me one of the old Alfred Hitchcock films is on Turner Classic Movies, and if I’m not home to watch it, you can bet I’ll be recording it. Just as I relish a big old wooden roller coaster, with its unpredictable set of twists and drops, so I find a well-made suspense film to be a hugely enjoyable exercise in the unpredictable. Slasher films do nothing for me; they’re repulsive, not creative. But in a legitimate thriller, when you put a man or woman into a seemingly impossible situation, then spend the next two hours tracking their progress through a maze of surprises, you’ve got me. I’ve always been a sucker for those types of stories and, in fact, you’d never want to be sitting in front of me at the theater when viewing a suspense film. I’m the guy who tries to help the hero along by shouting “Don’t trust her!”, or “No, don’t go through that door!” I really get into it. Can’t be helped.
So after viewing a particularly good thriller, I’m inclined to rent the DVD when it comes out. And invariably, having already seen the film from start to finish, I find myself enjoying it in an entirely new way when I view it a second time. Since I know how the ending comes out, I’m no longer agonizing over the hero’s fate. Now I can appreciate the camera angles, musical score and scenery in a whole new way. In fact, even when things get tense, I can relax and enjoy, since I know how it will all come out. I’ve seen the end of the movie, so whatever happens beforehand, I’m at peace.
Did you read the verse from Philippians at the top of this post? I’ll bet you’re already familiar with it, but this may be a time in your life when a second look is in order. “He that began a good work in you will complete it.” A few questions to ask yourself, in light of this:
- Did God in fact begin a good work in you? Surely He did, or else the good work wouldn’t have begun. Let’s you and I not flatter ourselves about this – if God Himself had not put it on our hearts to seek Him and His ways, and if He Himself did not arrange the events of our lives to bring to our attention our need for Him, then the “good work” in question would never have begun. Our own goodness or wisdom sure wouldn’t have made it happen; fact is, left to our own devices, we’d still be careening down a hellish path of our own choosing. So whether your sin was exposed against your will, or you simply felt a deep conviction about it causing you to take action, unquestionably it was God Himself who orchestrated that. So yes, He did indeed begin a good work in you.
- Does God bail on His projects? Nothing in scripture, your experience as a Christian, nor common sense itself, would suggest that He doesn’t complete what He began. Unlike us, who frequently change our minds or simply abandon our projects through boredom or discouragement, He is unchangeable in both His purposes and His purposefulness. That being the case, we’ve no reason to suspect Him of aborting His own plans in us.
- Is God worrying about you? If you were created by Him with purposes in mind (and you were) and He’s done His part to keep you moving towards those purposes (which He has) then surely He’s not pacing heaven worrying about whether or not you’re going to make it. You can grieve Him, sure, and anger Him as well. But worry Him? Hardly. Remember, He’s not bound by space and time, which enables Him to see you not only as you are today, but as you will be when His perfect work in you is finished. And hard as it may be to conceive, He sees a masterpiece when He fixes His fatherly gaze on you; a priceless product fashioned by His loving correction and empowering.
“The Lord will perfect that which concerns me,” David affirmed in Psalm 138:8, and David, with so many ups and downs in his own life, surely knew what he was talking about. Strive for righteousness? Of course. Labor to be a better steward in all ways? Go for it. But always with confidence, knowing that He who began a good work in you has seen the end of your movie. No wonder, then, He could say, “My peace I give unto you.” Take it, and guard it when things get tense. Because the script’s already been written, and the ending? Well, trust Him, you’ll love it.
(If you’re wanting to read more about this topic, check my book The Game Plan, available here.)