January 2, 2013

Confident of This

Happy new year. I trust that the January 1 holiday was a good one for you and yours, and that the pristine calendar on your refrigerator door or the fresh swipe of a screen in your smartphone appointments finds you anticipating a new season, bright with possibility.

Instead of adding to your list of resolutions, if you have them, I offer you for the new year this much-beloved, oft-quoted promise from the epistle of Philippians:

I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. (1:6)

Or, in the words of the winsome paraphrase of scripture that is The Message:

There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.
And that is my prayer for you, fellow believer, that 2013 will be a year of renewed confidence in the promise-making and promise-keeping of the God three in one. By the presence of the emboldening Holy Spirit, by the promises conveyed in scripture, by the encouragement of the great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1-2), and through that way of praying whereby your spirit is made more open, more receptive, more supple to God’s word and way ... By these good graces, may there be in 2013 “not the slightest doubt in your mind that the God who started great work in you will keep at it” until the end of all that God has undertaken in the world.

Noble as its appears, it just may be that the burden of resolution-making reveals in us a propensity to take on more responsibility for abundant life than we are even intended to carry. Besides, four times out of five, hasty resolutions are a setup for disappointment in ourselves. But we are bound up in a promise-laden gospel, in which the burden of abundance in this life lies at the feet of one who was once raised from our death, whose existence in the now is a token of the Father’s pledge to complete what was commenced. Those who walk in his way, those filled up with his Spirit, they need not resolve to do anything more than be confident in the promise-keeping God of Easter morning.

What good work has God begun in your life?