No, I’m not talking about us… goodness, my Momma was the greatest at starting to read books. She had over thirty books in her bookshelves in varying degrees of progress. Each had a bookmark in it. And one day, my three-year old at the time decided she was going to collect all Grammie’s bookmarks for her. And shoot, there goes all her progress in each book. Like she was ever going to go back in the first place. LOL And we are a lot like that!
But really, this blog is not about our follow through. It’s all about God’s.
Psalm 138:8 “Finish what you started in me, God. Your love is eternal—don’t quit on me now.” MSG “The Lord will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.” NASB
Side track: I do like the Message. But it is more of a commentary than an actual text. Because it’s someone’s version of what some said the Bible said. You know, like playing telephone. So while it’s easier and more romantic to read, we need actual text. So I started reading both the NASB and the Message together and sometimes the AMP and the NIV, as well. Just to get a clear picture.
When I heard this verse at a recent conference I attended, I felt like a tack nailed me to the wall. This was what I had been praying for. For weeks. Oh, but not in the exact words as this. This verse summed up all my prayers for the past few weeks.
Mine sounded something like, “You gave me this to do, so where do I go from here?” And, “How come things are not moving forward with what you told me to do?” “Give me wisdom to know the right next step.” And help me to follow through. And maybe that’s what you have been praying for, too.
And we all know the verse that says, “6 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
So now, let’s couple that finishing , God’s finishing what He started, with Romans 8:28.
“28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” NASB
He will start and complete the work in us. It’s not on us, thank God! I mean, I’d totally screw it up. And I have on occasion. Trying to help God just isn’t a good thing, trust me. And it’s all for our own good – even the things we think are bad.
Let’s just tear apart that verse.
- ALL THINGS
Even the ones we don’t like, even the ones that hurt us. Dare I say it? Yes, even our past. Let’s examine this from a Biblical standpoint;
Mary, the mother of Jesus was too young, inexperienced and unmarried. God used her specifically. He chose her specifically.
Esther was an orphan, raised by a man with no woman to teach her about beauty or feminine things, knew nothing about royalty. And yet she ended up being the most beautiful to the king and became a queen. And God certainly used her in spite of her humble beginnings.
David, well, he coveted, acted on it, committed adultery, murdered and lied to try and get out of it. And of course God used him mightily. God called David a man after God’s own heart. And in light of David’s son, King Solomon, the wisest king in history, “David’s greatest wisdom was born after his greatest mistake.”
See, God can use anybody! And it’s why we are told in 1 Thessalonians 5, “18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Because all things work together for your own good.
We see the good or vision that God has given us. And yet we are stuck way back here, and it seems like miles and miles until we reach the vision. And what steps do we take to get there?
- WORK TOGETHER
Yes, we have to work together. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to complete the work in us, take us across to the vision God has shown us. But, we have to be in cooperation with him and not fight him every step of the way. We need to find out what He is up to in our lives and in the world around us. Then we need to cooperate with Him and not fight or try to do things our way instead. I know, easier said than done.
And He is the one who gives us wisdom, leads us down the right path and gently corrects us when we are going off on our own way doing all the wrong things.
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
- TO THOSE WHO LOVE GOD
We use the word ‘love’ for just about everything in our culture today. We love tacos, we love that television show, or that amazing song on the radio. We have thrown that word at everything these days.
But, we are to LOVE God, with our heart, soul mind and strength – all of it. (Luke 10:27) Did you catch that? All of our strength. And yet we make excuses not to use our time to read. Therefore we are not loving Him with all of our mind because we are not using our mind, because we are not using our strength. At all.
Eros love, romantic love that we use in our culture all the time, is not mentioned in the Bible much at all. Philo, the friendly kind of love is a tad more. But the most used kind of love that we read about in the Bible is the agape kind. I know we’ve all heard of this word, it runs in Christian circles and has for years. Agape is the kind of love that brings about action.
It’s the kind of love Jesus had for us in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” It’s the kind of love we are asked to have when we pray for our enemies and for those that persecute us. It’s the kind of love we have for each other so people will know we are His disciples. It’s the kind of love that we are requested to have here for God Himself. And it brings us to those actions to get closer, go deeper and even just to read and pray daily.
So let’s be intentional in the way we love God and those around us… it’s part of our testimony!
- FOR GOOD
God keeps every single promise He ever made. To us. When we don’t deserve it. Let’s face it, we don’t even want Him to at times. I mean sanctification, the process, the surgery is hard and painful. Sometimes we want to quit in the idle. But God, He comes running after us. To bring us back with His love and help us get through the painful processes, the painful times in our lives. And in the end, we grow to be more and more like Him.
That’s why the Bible says to be thankful for all things and in all things. We are to count it all joy when we face trials. Really, all joy? I know I’m the one who starts grumbling. But God, it’s not joy this hurts. But God, it’s not joy when I’m afraid. But God, we won’t be able to pay our bills. But God, I am now ‘unemployed’.
But God. And this is when we learn to press into Him; to share our burdens and hurts and complaints. It’s where He can shape and mold us into being more and more like Jesus. It’s where He comforts all our fears. It’s where He proves His provision to us. It’s where we learn the lessons so we can share them with our to give God all the glory. And the list goes on and on.
And God is so good, He does finish what He started in us. So let Psalm 138:8 be your prayer today;
“Finish what you started in me, God. Your love is eternal—don’t quit on me now.”