Philippians 1:3, 6 I thank my God every time I remember you, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
I have been encouraged by this passage myself, and I have written verse six in the Bibles of more new believers than I have kept track of. That said, it is dangerous to let familiarity breed contempt, especially when it comes to the Bible. Verse three is an encouragement to me because it recognizes the reality that we don’t think about other people constantly. God is the only one who can do that and still function otherwise. As dear as the Philippian believers obviously were to Paul, he still didn’t think of them without pause. That is obsession, and leads to all sorts of problems. However, his thoughts of them were couched in gratitude to God for all He had done in, for, and through them. The reason for that gratitude is expressed in verse six. Paul realized that absolutely everything good is grounded in God. Our very existence depends on Him, and as Jesus said, we can do nothing without Him. (John 15:5) For that very reason we can rest, relax, and rejoice in Him, focusing not on performing for him, but rather on abiding in Him and allowing Him to live through us. When I write this reference in a new believer’s Bible it is with the prayer that they will allow this truth to sink into them and free them from all sorts of lies of the enemy, so that they may enjoy all the abundance God has for them.
I often apply this to others, but it applies to me just as well. I have been involved in all sorts of things over the years, to the point that I can’t keep track of them in my own memory. Yesterday I was contacted by someone who was here about 20 years ago, and it took a while to retrieve the memories of someone to whom she referred. I do thank God for her and for God bringing her here for a season, but she is certainly not constantly in my awareness. We did stay in touch for a while after she left, and God obviously did some very good things in and through her, but they weren’t directly related to us here, and contact faded. Then yesterday she contacted me through the church Facebook page, and I was reminded of the glorious reality that God never loses track of anyone. There are many like her, both here in Japan and literally around the world, and I am grateful for them all. I am also grateful that I’m not responsible for them all, either in what they do or in keeping track of them! I am reminded that the family of God is far too big for me to sort out, but that doesn’t change the reality that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, and that is wonderful indeed. Today I will be meeting a brother and sister for the first time, who have gotten connected through my blog. I trust our conflicting accents won’t cause problems! There too, God is carrying to completion the good work that He has begun in each of us, and we are to rejoice.
Father, thank You for all that You are doing. I can’t begin to keep track of it all! Help me indeed rest, relax, and rejoice in You, allowing Your Holy Spirit to carry me along, on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!