November 23, 2012

God’s work will not be left undone

It is said that the closer one gets to God, the more that person sees their own impurities. I don’t know about the closer to God part, but certainly understand what it means to have a heightened awareness of my shortcomings. 

The Holy Spirit is picky. He convicts me of selfishness at every turn. I cannot complain of another’s mistreatment without a poke from God. My thought life is under scrutiny to the point that I’m daily praying, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14) I’m also deeply aware that I cannot pray unless I am praying in the name of Jesus. My offerings are impure and entirely a pack of ‘I wants.’

God wants His people pure and blameless. This cannot happen in this life. Sin is far too polluting, too ingrained in the human soul. Yet He has a plan. When He sees the depth of human resistance to His holiness, He does not give up. He plans to finish what He started in my life many years ago.

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. (Philippians 1:6)

Notice that it is God who does the good work. Today’s devotional reading says the same thing; earthly faithfulness is possible only by the reception of heavenly gifts. Only God can declare a sinner to be a saint, and only Jesus Christ can then take that sinner-declared-a-saint and form him into a pure and blameless replication of Himself.

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:23–24)

The devotional writer says that no one is pure except by impartation. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17) 

Apart from Christ, I am hopelessly a sinner. With Jesus Christ and with the power of His Spirit, I am being changed. In the brightness of His presence, I cannot often see it, yet I am trusting Him to make it so. 

Lord God, when Your light shines on me, all I can see is the mud on the mirror and feel hopelessly inadequate to reflect that light back to others. Only You can make happen such a wonder as that. Only in Christ can I be declared blameless when He returns. In the meantime, as I cringe and feel exposed, may I remember Your promises and not be afraid of your way of finishing what you started.

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