No, not that sappy “you complete me” Jerry Maguire line (I’ve never even seen the movie). But complete as in, “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:6). I’ve been thinking a lot about why Paul wrote to the Philippians, and what he wanted to get across in his letter to his fellow Believers.
I keep wondering, “What is this good work that God began in them, and what does it look like for it to be brought to completion?” A few verses later, Paul says:
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so 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 1:9-11, ESV).
What began to stick out to me was Paul’s emphasis on “the day of Christ” — this future day to which he is looking forward so expectantly. With that as the common thread, it seems like Paul’s image of completion is for Believers to be pure, blameless and filled with the fruit of righteousness (which became possible when God granted us salvation and started His “good work” in us).
The assurance, the hope, and the goal, then, all revolve around the day of Christ. But how often, though, do I think about that day? I get so focused on getting through the next day, the next week, with all its anxiety and trials and to do’s. When do I think about eternity and what really matters in this life?
My small group leader was talking yesterday about the need to live life to the fullest and to use what God has given us here in this life — time, money, energy, abilities — to invest in the Kingdom (it also relates to Terry’s Sunday School message about storing for ourselves treasures in heaven). I think a lot about God’s plans for me and how to discern His will and desire for my life. It’s something that I remember Dr. Theonnes talking to us about in Theo I, and something which he recently mentioned again on the Talbot blog:
While I believe the Bible teaches that God has a detailed plan for our lives, that we should seek his guidance every step of the way, I also believe the Bible calls us to primarily focus on who we are becoming in the midst of the details. God’s focus is on our characters; while we’re often consumed with our day-timers. While we seem to be increasingly self and details focused, the Bible challenges us to be God, other, and world focused; to seek God’s Kingdom first, and allow God to provide for us and work out the details of our lives (Matt 6:33-34). We can be sure that God always leads us in the direction of holy living that will bring him the greatest glory. As David declares, “he leads me in paths of righteousness for his name sake” (Ps 23:3). –“Knowing God’s Will for Your Life,” Erik Theonnes
There’s such strong tension between living for the “here and now” and living for the “day of Christ.” I feel so stuck in between, daydreaming about and living for a more immediate future — a future that’s far less important to God than who I am and who He wants me to become.
I’m always thinking about what’s next: the next job, the next city, the next relationship; especially when I’m having a hard time dealing with what’s directly in front of me. It seems to me that my heart is set on all the wrong things, and it’s the root of my discontentment, my covetousness, my anxiety, my fear, my lack of faith and trust.
I guess the real question for me is: How does the “day of Christ” and an eternal perspective truly affect how I live — and who I am — in the here and now?