Unfinished projects? Unkept promises? Unfulfilled dreams? We all know the disappointment that comes with starting down the path toward our goals with excitement yet never seeming to reach the end. Our intentions are good at the start, but with time we lose focus. We begin to feel like we’ve failed, and feelings of discouragement and failure lead to some very bad days.
“If you dwell on your own feelings about things rather than dwelling on the faithfulness, the love and mercy of God, then you are likely to have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Our feelings are very fleeting and ephemeral, aren’t they? We can’t depend on them for five minutes at a time. But dwelling on the love, faithfulness, and mercy of God is always safe.”Elisabeth Elliott
Listen to the good news. When it comes to our spiritual life and God’s plans for us, we will not end in failure. The project will be finished. The promise will be kept. The dream will be realized…in living color!
And I am sure that God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns.Philippians 1:6 Living Bible (TLB)
What is so different about God’s children
Paul confidently assures us that our goals will come to completion for one reason and one reason only. It is God’s work, God’s project, and He will do it. A promise is only as reliable as the one who makes it. This promise in Philippians is made by the heavenly promise keeper, God himself. He always keeps his promises. What good news!
Ask yourself, “Do I have projects, promises or dreams I need to give back to God and receive His grace to finish?”
My prayer for you is that you will overflow more and more with love for others, and at the same time keep on growing in spiritual knowledge and insight,Philippians 1:9 Living Bible
Read Philippians 1:9-11 & 1:27
Following Christ means accepting a new set of standards that are far beyond our reach. We could never hope to reach the pinnacle of God’s calling without His power and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We are called to conduct ourselves in a manner that is “worthy of the gospel of Christ.” What a high calling!
I’ve asked myself, “What does this look like in our world today?” Paul’s prayer in verses 9-11 opens a window in to the Kingdom of God, and through it we get a glimpse of what the “calling of God on life” might look like:
- A heart full of love.
- A renewed mind, filled with God’s knowledge and deep insight.
- A spirit so discerning that it leads to purity and blamelessness.
- A life overflowing with the fruit of the Spirit of Christ.
We can gain none of these things on our own. Only as we pray and seek the power God alone can offer, only as He fills us with Himself, will we inherit these attributes In Christ. Then and only then will our lives bring glory and praise to The Father.
Live a cheerful life, without complaining or division among yourselves. For then you will be seen as innocent, fault-less, and pure children of God, even though you live in the midst of a brutal and perverse culture,Philippians 2:14-15 (TPT)
Grumbling and complaining seems to be a national pastime right now. Grumbling and complaining has become a recreational activity in the foyer of many churches today. Even though we know it is sin and that it breaks the heart of God, many Christians tolerate it in their own lives and the lives of others.
The people of Israel mastered the art of complaining (Ex 15:24, 16:2-12, 17:3), and God disciplined them for it. Paul wrote to the believers of his day to remind them of the high cost of their ancestor’s sin. (1 Corinthians 10:6-10) He lists four of the sins Israel committed as they wandered through the desert: idolatry, sexual immorality, testing God and grumbling. While we probably wouldn’t put grumbling and complaining on our list of the worst sins, God takes it very seriously because it is an outward indication of an inward problem. We need to look at God’s invitation one more time. “Do everything without complaining or arguing.”
“I admit that I haven’t yet acquired the absolute fullness that I’m pursuing, but I run with passion into his abundance so that I may reach the purpose that Jesus Christ has called me to fulfill and wants me to discover. I don’t depend on my own strength to accomplish this; however I do have one compelling focus: I forget all of the past as I fasten my heart to the future instead. I run straight for the divine invitation of reaching the heavenly goal and gaining the victory-prize through the anointing of Jesus. So let all who are fully mature have this same passion, and if anyone is not yet gripped by these desires, God will reveal it to them. And let us all advance together to reach this victory-prize, following one path with one passion.Philippians 3:12–16 The Passion Translation
Despite having met the Lord Jesus on the Damascus road, and afterward learning the gospel from Christ himself in Asia, Paul could have focused on his past, dwelling on his vicious persecution of the early church. He could have chosen to live a life of regret and by doing so failed to fulfill God’s call on his life. But he didn’t. Instead, he chose to forget the past, “reaching forward to those things which are ahead.”
Whatever you do — don’t live in the past. Whether it’s a failed marriage, some huge mistake, or a hurtful relationship with someone, leave them all in the past and move forward. By all means, learn from your mistakes. But look to Christ as your success, wisdom, comfort and strength, and see Him do a new thing in your life by His unmerited favor. See Him giving you stronger relationships and blessed situations through His wisdom and grace. See Him giving you a better job with better benefits. See Him restoring your youth and your strength. Consider not “the things of old,” but consider or meditate on His better promises (Hebrews 8:6).
Ask yourself, “Is there garbage from my past? Can I leave it behind me in order to move forward into God’s plan and purpose for my life?”
Guard Your Feelings
Beware of What Enters Your Heart. Paul tells us that what we believe or allow to enter into our heart is so very important.
…whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.Philippians 4:8
It’s no wonder that the Book of Wisdom (the ancient Hebrew title for the writings we know as Proverbs) tells us to guard our hearts above all else (Proverbs 4:23), because what we allow to take root in our hearts will determine the course of our lives! If you have not been experiencing success in a certain area, check what you’ve been believing about that area or about yourself in relation to that area. Ask the Lord to reveal any erroneous beliefs to you and ask Him to help you replace them with the truth of His Word. Always fill your heart with only what’s pure and true from the Lord. Keep His words in the midst of your heart and uppermost in your mind. They will be life and health to your soul and entire body! (Proverbs 4:22)