March 13, 2023
- By Ed Powell
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"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6
Paul and Timothy rejoiced in being bondservants together with the believers at Philippi, as partners together in the fellowship of the gospel. They shared in the trials, labors, and conflicts they encountered. It was difficult for the believers to take a stand for Christ, to declare their faith amidst idolatrous people, while trying to be built up in their faith. Paul assures them of his prayers. Thankful for every remembrance of them, he encourages them, "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you, will perform it [will bring it to maturity, will complete His plan and purpose in your life] until the day of Jesus Christ."
Paul prays for four specific things that he desires for them. That your love may abound more and more in knowledge and in all judgment, that you may approve things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense, and that you be filled with the fruits of righteousness. [We also need to be included in this prayer.] Before these believers could live exemplary lives, the "overflowing love of Christ" needed to envelop their lives by the Holy Spirit, so that they would be able to perceive, understand, and discern not only what is right, but what is best and foremost.
Norman Grubb, the son-in-law of C. T. Studd, the founder of the Heart of Africa Mission, said, "It's wonderful to be filled with the Holy Spirit, but God wants to fill our cups to overflowing. Only when our cups overflow with His Spirit can He maximize our lives to be effective and fruitful." May the Holy Spirit spill out of our cups in an abundant measure to others!
Paul wanted their lives to be pure and blameless so that they would be filled with the fruits of righteousness. The Greek word for "pure" has two possible meanings. First, "to be judged by sunlight" and to stand the test of close examination. Second, "to shake as a sieve," so that after the shaking, only the pure substance remains.
In the refining of gold, the refiner sits by his crucible and heats the gold, removing all the impurities as they rise to the surface from the intense heat. He continues until he can see the reflection of his face in the melted gold. God does not sift and refine us in relaxed and comfortable circumstances, but rather in times of anxiety and adversity, in days of stress and trial. Paul says to put your confidence in HIS FAITHFULNESS!
In her devotional classic "Streams in the Desert," Mrs. Charles Cowan wrote, "Sometimes God sends severe blasts of trial upon His children to develop their graces. Just as torches burn most brightly when swung to and fro, just as the juniper smells sweetest when flung into the flames, so the rich qualities of a Christian often come out under the north wind of suffering and adversity. Bruised hearts often emit the fragrance of a sweet savor that God loves to smell." What He begins, He will bring to completion!
May we continually search our hearts to remove all sin and impurities that might cause others to stumble, "that we might walk worthy of the Lord, pleasing unto all, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God." Is this the desire of your heart? Let Christ reign as Lord and Sovereign!
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://www.litmin.org/dare.php?date=2023-03-13
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