January 31, 2012

Growth Is Guaranteed

Philippians 1:3-11

He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:6


We hear a lot about guarantees in our world today. Sometimes people are promised a guaranteed return on money they invest. Gadgets for the kitchen are guaranteed to reduce the time needed for meal preparation, and golf training equipment is guaranteed to fix the dreaded slice. But there are really very few guarantees in life. As Benjamin Franklin put it, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes.”

Thankfully, there is more we can add to that short list. Jesus promised, “If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit” (John 15:5). That’s why when Paul prays for the Philippians, he asks God to fill them “with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ.” Paul knows that “he who began a good work in [them] will carry it on to completion.”

How reassuring these promises are, especially in times of discouragement. It may take a long time before fruit appears, and sometimes it may take painful experiences to produce it, but fruit will grow.

Here’s a rich blessing to conclude our devotions for this month: “May … the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).

Lord, help me to live every day in fellowship with you. Thank you for promising to continue and to complete your work in me. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Peter Hoytema

Peter Hoytema has been a pastor for nearly 30 years and has served congregations in Ontario and New Jersey. He is currently the pastor of a congregation in Strathroy, Ontario. He is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary and San Francisco Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Grace, are the parents of four adult children.

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