Friday, December 7, 2018

Complete

Are you complete? The question seems to be a little like asking if we are perfect. Well I suspect you might say no I am not. Yet in the Christian world of faith God addresses this question in Scripture in a way that causes pause in me, and hope.

In Philippians 1:4-6 Paul is addressing his friends in Philippi with joy saying, “I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 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.”  What an encouragement that Christ is working in believers to mature us and make us complete day by day until He returns.

In the book of 1 John the Apostle writes about living in God saying, "God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in Him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the Day of Judgment, because in this world we are like Him” (1 John 4:16-17). God is the complete love, meaning all aspects of love are perfect in Him.

This spiritual concept is also in the Old Testament speaking of the Israelites celebrating their Feast of Tabernacles commemorating their freedom from slavery in Egypt and passage through the desert to the Promised Land. “For the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and you joy will be compete” (Deuteronomy 16:15). I certainly rejoice too at the idea of complete joy. Let’s return to the New Testament and the Book of Acts.

Luke narrates of Paul’s journey saying, “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me- the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24).  Life was not worth living unless Paul completed the work. That should be the goal of every Christian. Jesus speaks in John 15 of life lives in Him and results of obeying His commands, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be compete” (John 15:11). God wants our lives and joy to be complete even in struggles.

James 1:2-4 reminds us of what God is trying to accomplish through difficulties and struggles in our lives. “Consider pure joy, my brothers and sisters whenever you face trials of many kinds, because the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  Enduring trials successfully, staying in them until God’s will is completed, will complete us. Paul tells his friend and fellow soldier Archippus, “See to it that you complete the work you have received from the Lord” (Colossians 4:17). He is continuing the theme to stay in and finish the work as a significant part of God’s completion plan.


So are you complete? I don’t know how you answer that question. For me it is in the word completing. After nearly five long decades, I began the work which “God prepared for me in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).  God is always working in us as we work out our salvation with fear and trembling as Paul says in Philippians 2:12. Life is a journey and process in which God is molding us and making us to be more like Him until we reach completion. When is that? When we see Jesus Christ face to face in heaven. Our choice is to complete the race in His will be believing in and following Him like His original disciples or going our own way which will be a complete failure. Why? Because Jesus will not say, “well done good and faithful servant, but instead, get away from me because I never knew you. The choice is ours and it is pretty clear. The Frank Sinatra theme song, “My Way” will not complete you but will shut out the lights. Take your pick.

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