…being confident of this: that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ.
Intro: [The book of Philippians is a beautiful letter written by the apostle Paul during his arrest in Rome as he awaited his trial. The ironic thing about this book is that though he is in chains while writing, and after beatings and humiliation, the ongoing theme of this book can be summed up by one word: Joy.
Paul was a man who had learned how to live a life of contentment- no matter the circumstances.
As we dig into these words, I pray that his spirit of joy and peace will also saturate our lives, allowing us to take in our lives with contentment and satisfaction.]
In reading the book of Philippians, I’m struck by the many things Paul learned on his journey to contentment. The reality of contentment is that it is just that: a journey. It isn’t a magic potion or a miraculous gift. Like Paul points out, it is a learned trait. It’s a habit…and a habit of unhappiness in a person’s life can only be overcome by a habit of contentment.
It seems to me that one step toward learning contentment is found in the concept of confidence. Paul had an unwavering confidence that stemmed from outside of his-self. He stood on the solid ground of what Christ could do in his life and in the life of others and nothing could shake that belief.
No matter what he went through, or what others around him went through, Paul was sure that Christ would carry him through…He would finish what He began, there was no doubt about that in Paul’s mind. And it makes sense.
I mean, after such a miraculous interaction with the power of Jesus Christ, Paul was changed in an instant. That powerful moment ingrained in him a confidence that could not be moved.
I want that kind of confidence. I want to believe that no matter what is going on in my life, that I serve a God who will carry it to completion…and not just any kind of completion, but something that ends in good- because that is who God is.
I want to believe with all my heart that God is able to complete even the most difficult of situations and bring me through to the end. I want a confidence that stems outside of my own power and will- but that is grounded firmly in the knowledge of who Jesus is and what He has done and will do in my life.
And why not? Paul’s transformation is not any more miraculous than my own. A blind woman who now can see. A lost soul who was compassionately found. A dying spirit that was rescued from the grave. I have seen that God is good, and I have seen what He can do…so why is it so difficult some days to have confidence in what He WILL do in my life and in my situation?
When our eyes our fixed on Him, when we are confident in what He can do…no situation or circumstance can take away our joy.
This is why I believe that the first key to contentment is found in confidence in Christ. Because in this, we lay down our power and our pride, we lay down our trust in ourselves, we lay down what we know to be true and what we can see with our eyes in the moment- and proclaim that Christ can and will complete all that is good in our lives.
Be confident. He who began a good work in your life WILL carry it to completion…so step out of the way, and let Him.
May God grant you the gift of confidence in who He is this Christmas season.