Confident Spiritual Growth

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. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.

For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. ~Philippians 1:6-11 (ESV)

Paul spoke confidently of the Philippians’ sanctification. His hope wasn’t in their own effort, however. Not that they weren’t to follow Jesus in obedience and strive to grow in faith, but the true source of growth in Christ was “he who began a good work in you.” This is the work of the Father through the Holy Spirit for all who trust in Jesus.

Paul’s great love for them showed through in this. He desired their spiritual growth because he loved them so deeply. This is what Paul described of love in 1 Corinthians 13—love seeks another’s best. The best the Philippians could have and the best we can have is Jesus. To have more of the best, then, is to know Jesus more, obey Jesus more, and shine more of the light of Jesus into the world.

So, Paul’s prayers abounded. He longed, deeply longed, for each member of the church to glorify God in all that they did (and thus the church as a whole would glorify God in all that it did). He desired that they be a discerning people, knowing right from wrong and choosing the right, and striving for blamelessness in all that they did.

And Paul was confident this would be the final result of their life. He was, after all, confident in God. This same confidence and call he puts another way in 2:12-13: “Work out your salvation in fear and trembling because God is at work in you.” So, let’s have the same confidence. Let us devote ourselves to knowing Jesus more through prayer and his word. And let us trust that God will grow us along the way and perfect us in the end.

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