Read Philippians 1:2-11
I call them “stones.”
Each one represents a time in my life of asking for or experiencing the working of God. The purpose of these stones is for remembrance, just as Joshua set up memorial stones after crossing the Jordan River. Many of these stones of remembrance are reflected by a name and date in my Bible. As I open to Philippians chapter 1, my son’s name and date, written in black ink, carries my mind back to November 2013.
Prayer seems to be the theme of today’s passage. Three times Paul reminds his friends in Philippi that he is praying for them. Tucked in the middle of these verses is verse 6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” What an encouragement that must have been to his readers! Paul had a confidence, an assurance, a no doubt kind of faith, that God not only began a work in them, but promised that He would continue that work to maturity. As I’m sure that also encourages us today, two things jump out at me when I read this passage:
First, it is God who does the working. As simple as that sounds, it is an important truth to remember. He is the one who initiates the work.
“For it is by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8
The work He has begun in believers is a gift from Him. We can do nothing to earn it and we don’t deserve it, but we get to enjoy the eternal benefits of His love and grace.
Has He begun that good work in you?
If God just gave us the gift of His grace, that would be more than enough, but Paul says that God will complete the work He began. Ephesians 2:10 states that God “prepared the good works He created us to do that we should walk in them”. As a receiver of His gift of grace, we have the privilege of learning, trusting, growing and serving. In other words, God will continue to mature our faith and the work He wants to do in us and through us.
Secondly, God wants to use us in continuing His work. Paul gives us a beautiful model in this passage. Prayer- Work- Prayer. Sandwiched between the assurance of God’s work is prayer. Prayer will ever be a mystery to me, but I know it is essential in continuing God’s work. Who or what are you praying for today?
As I reflect seven years ago to November 2013, I thank my God for that stone. I see God’s work continue and I remember that the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. As you pile up your stones, may you see that God’s work and prayer are a perfect partnership.