LENT: FINISH

God will finish the work that has been begun in our lives. The Bible says so with great confidence. It will be done. Have faith. Get back up. Stay in the fight. Because you can do it!

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Phil. 1:6

How is Paul so sure?

The work that is being done in us is God’s work. Most importantly, it is soul-work. Furthermore, it is a work that God does and is not our own doing. Because it is a gift of God, no one can boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand that we should do (Eph. 2:8-10). These good works flow out of faith and the source is God. Remember, we are saved by the amazing grace of God and it is Him who began such a work in our lives. 

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Phil. 2:12-13

It is God who works in you to accomplish HIs purpose. He is the agent at work within you. For this reason, we partner with God to complete what He is doing. Additionally, we join Him in His work.

How does God do work in us?

For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake. Phil. 1:29

The work that God started in you will be completed. He will finish what He started. And just as we have a suffering Savior, we too will have suffering in this lifetime. Moreover, it is often the worst hardships that are used to work out our salvation and advance the Gospel. We see this over and over again in the life of Paul. He rejoiced in his suffering because he knew he had an opportune time to share Jesus. Paul was a warrior for the Gospel. There wasn’t anything that was gonna slow that man down.

I️’ll be honest…sometimes Paul seems like a fairy tale.

In my frail humanness, I️ shriek at the sound of suffering. Wave my white flag. Cower at the thought of hard circumstances and situations. Run from conflict and turn inward. Choose despair. I️ somehow become unaware of others as I️ become hyper-focused on myself. Sadly, I️ don’t breed hope and love at these times.

But by the grace of God, I’m beginning to see things differently through the lens of the Gospel. For example, Paul approached suffering like, “C’mon, bring it on!” He exercised incredible impulse control and subjected his emotions to great scrutiny. “If God is for us, who can be against us” (Rom. 8:31). Likewise, I️ am learning to get back up, dust myself off, stay in the fight and finish well. 

Suffering was not a distraction, inconvenience, or detour for Paul, but a breakthrough for what he cared most about: the spread of the gospel and the glory of Jesus. Marshall Segal, Desiring God

God can use pain and suffering for His glory

The greatest catalyst of the Gospel occurs amid the pain. Others see the Gospel lived out in you when you…

  • Have hope during the chaos
  • Speak the truth and stand all alone
  • Choose love when betrayed
  • Spread joy in despair
  • Forgive when deeply wounded
  • Persevere when the road is hard

God never wastes pain. Your suffering is not a detour. Our suffering has a two-fold purpose. It reveals where our treasure is, exposing our innermost being. Our thoughts, secret sin tendencies, and false securities come to the surface. It is here where God is working. Through suffering, we come to experience God at a deeper level. But it also has an outward purpose…for us to share the hope of Jesus to those around.

Keep your head up. Someone needs to see you suffer well. We may not know why we are suffering at the current time. Perhaps our suffering is for a future time to be an agent of comfort. Greater pain needs greater comfort from God, and perhaps your own story will enable you to comfort well.

Don’t’ shy away from sharing your stories of pain and suffering. Interestingly, in our stories, God is glorified. In our stories, others find comfort. Therefore, become a saint who suffers well.

Prayer: Dear God, you are so amazing and good. Help us become catalysts of change by sharing our personal stories of suffering and pain. In the hard, You can be glorified. Help me finish well.