July 10, 2017

Finished and Perfect!

Quilters often say, “Finished is better than perfect.” We tend to create quilt tops one after the other only to hang them in a closet without completion. The reason for UFO’s (unfinished objects) is either dislike or insecurity about the next steps, even though getting through that part means another finished project.

Unfinished projects are common. Sometimes they pile up because of shortage of skills, or time, or the dedication necessary. Interruptions happen. Other tasks become more important. But God is not like that . . .

“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)

This verse blesses me because I know He will finish what He started in me and one day I will be just like Jesus:

“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2)

But it also blesses me as I pray for those who wander from their first commitment to Christ. Our backslidings happen, yet God is faithful. He promises to keep His children and never give up on us. Solomon, said to be the wisest man who ever lived, said this:
“I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been . . . .” (Ecclesiastes 3:14–15)
The last part of these verses hint at the reality and nature of eternity. We who live in time cannot grasp it except to realize that for God, all is NOW, not past, present, future. We see His works unfolding, but He sees them as seeds, sprouts, mature plants, buds and blossoms, all finished even before they began.

Not only that, in time we have the prayers of God the Son who asked His Father to keep us just as He kept His disciples. Because this is in a sense a prayer from God to God, there is no doubt that it will happen, in time as well as being already certain in eternity. Jesus prayed . . .
“All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth . . . . I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:10–24)
For me, this is not new theology; I know that I am eternally secure, kept by the gracious power of God. However, it is assurance also for those on my prayer list, those who started out well yet have stumbled along the way, or those whose spiritual growth seems stunted, or those who constantly waver in their walk with God. Experience helps me identify with them, but the above verses give me full confidence that God will bring them through.

Jesus, Your closet is no doubt packed with millions of UFO’s —none of us are complete. We are not yet fully like You. However, You promised that our eternal destiny is to be both finished and perfect! Until then, we must “Work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in us, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12–13) How comforting to know that You are at work in me and in all Your children. You are unifying our desires with Yours and joyfully having Your way in us! Our part is cooperation, yet not only can I trust You with finishing the job, I can also trust You with what quilters call WIPs or works in progress. I understand what it means to keep that image in mind of the final result, but unlike me, You persist until the job is done.

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