1 Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus: To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons. 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, 4 always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. 7 It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because I have you in my heart, and you are all partners with me in grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and establishment of the gospel.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
I love Philippians – especially how it opens. Paul obviously receives such comfort from their faithful service with him in the gospel. And I love the promise Paul cites: that “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
Our salvation begins a good work in us, and the Holy Spirit in us does the work. That’s really good news – that our sanctification, the process of the good work being completed in us, is not up to our efforts and us. What a relief!
Now as we have seen in this devotional series about spiritual disciplines, we have things we are called to do in Scripture that mature our faith. Common sense tells us that our walk with the Lord will be different when we walk in obedience as opposed to rebellion. And our experiences will shape us, and with the Spirit’s help will mold us into the likeness of Christ.
So as we walk with Christ, keeping His Word front and center in our heart, fruit will blossom as a natural product of our life. Part of that fruit is contentment, a peace that we find in God, in His presence and His love. Later in Philippians Paul says he has learned to be content in whatever circumstance he finds himself in.
I believe this contentment is an important witness to our lost world. John Piper says that God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him, and that contentment and satisfaction come in the constant reminder of His presence.
No matter what our circumstances, God in Christ has overcome them, and He walks with us through the most difficult moments to let us know that in the end it will be OK. Practicing the disciplines called for in Scripture keeps this Truth constantly in front of us.
- We are called to persevere in our faith. What comfort does it provide to you that God “who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ”?
- How can you cooperate with God’s Spirit to do His work in you? Which of the various practices we have studied (Bible Study, prayer, silence and solitude, learning, journaling, etc.) do you need God’s strength to persevere in?