on to completion

Read Philippians 1:3-11.

“… he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion … And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” (Phil. 1:6,9-11 TNIV)

I’m thinking now of two Christian families I know well and love.

One family has worked hard in every way they know how, saving every penny they could earn. They did without what almost all of their friends had for years. They did so because they had a dream they wanted to see completed some day for the sake of their children – a humble place of their own on a little bit of land out in the country. They finally realized that dream not that long ago. They see it as the fruition of a labor of love, hard, but wise, decision making, and most of all, as God’s grace poured out on lives humbled lived not for self, but for the Savior. They are profoundly grateful, humble and spiritually-minded family. Their children are reaping a harvest of blessing from their parents’ wise ways of living.

The other family I’m thinking of is now in the midst of a nightmare. They built the house of their dreams and moved in. The problem is it was far more extravagant than they could afford and now it’s going back to the bank. They’re way over their head in debt and where, as well as how, they’ll live is a very good question. Though good people in many ways, their love is misplaced and their interaction with God and his people comes far down the list of priorities in their life. They consistently make bad choices that reveal the fact they have no real knowledge of the real world. Their isolation from meaningful interaction with many of God’s people only insures their continued ignorance. But it is not them, rather, their children, who will suffer the most for their inability to discern what was, and is, best. They now look at life darkly, as a burden hung around their neck and they wonder where God is in the midst of all of their incompleteness and broken dreams.

Today, each of us is building a house. Our spirit’s house. We are determining the foundation of our soul and the rafters of our love with every choice we make each day. Our greatest priorities, like the walls of our house, are put on display for all to see – or mock – as we make our daily decisions. Whether we seek him alone who is truly pure and blameless for the sake of his glory or simply content ourselves with trying to chart our own course with our own pitiful strength is the fork in the road we face every hour of every day.

May we each find the way to lay our life before God and let him bring it to the completion that is best for his name and for us. May we not try to build our lives only on our own strength, but on him. If we do so, we will find that whether we have little or much in terms of earthly possessions, we will be wealthy beyond imagination, for we will find our completeness in him who is alone complete.

Father in heaven, in Jesus’ name, give me knowledge and depth of insight as to how I am to live my life out in true love for you and for those around me. Help me to make the decisions that will lead to a life that all can see is pure and blameless, whether or not that same life is deemed “”successful” or not in the eyes of the world. I want my life, and the life of my family, to be lived out solely to your glory and praise, Father. May I ever humbly seek your righteousness and may you ever grow the fruit of your righteousness in me. Amen.

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