Philippians 1:6 and 2020
It’s been quite a year. And the year is not over yet. For me, personally, this year has been effective to show me my limitations and frailty. I have seen more clearly my own sinfulness and weakness. Often, this year has felt heavy and lonely and maddening and confusing. In fact, my church has generously given me a few weeks off to recover from my own fatigue and personal issues.
I don’t know that this has been anyone’s favorite year. There are all sorts of jokes about 2020 and our collective desire to see it come to an end. I get that.
But then I read Philippians 1:6 which says, “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.” This is wildly encouraging!
1. 2020 isn’t a wash. 2020 isn’t a waste. Yes, it’s been difficult for most. It’s been frustrating and there are many in our country and around the world that are grieving the devastating effects of the pandemic and everything else that 2020 has brought us. Yet, at the very same time, God’s word reminds us that even now, in the chaos and the uncertainty, one thing is sure—that God is at work in us. And not only that, he is doing a good work in us. It may feel like one step forward, five steps back, but it’s not. Your life in Christ is a life in which God is constantly doing a good work, to make you more like Jesus.
2. There is going to be a day when Jesus comes to make all things new. What a wonderful reality for us in this season! With the constant reminders of death, disease and division in our world, it’s a mercy of God to remind us that there will be a day, soon and very soon, in which Christ will come to make all things new. The Bible is clear about this (Rev. 21): Jesus is coming back to restore all things and to be with his church forevermore. In the newness, there will be no more death, no more sadness, no more disease, no more fear, no more division, no more sin—but only ever increasing joy in the presence of God himself who delights in his people. And we will be complete.
3. The church is doing just fine. I had a conversation recently with someone who predicted that the church was going to be hit the hardest in the pandemic. She was concerned that people would leave the church, never to return. Sure, people have left their church. Yes, attendance is down and there may be difficult decisions for local churches all across the country. But let’s remember—Christ is faithful to his church. There is nothing—NOTHING—that will stop the church, not because the church is sufficient, but because Christ is. Jesus loves His church. And Philippians 1:6 is about the good work God is doing in the church, not just certain individuals. Though it can be applied personally, the reality is that God is at work in his church.
So, let me encourage you— God is doing a good work in you and the church even if you can’t see it. God’s goodness to us is not dependent on our awareness of that goodness. Still, it would be wise of us to slow down from time to time so that we could see all that ways God is moving and working for good.
And let me also encourage you to plug into a local church (here is a link to help you find a church in the Mustang/Yukon area). Serve faithfully. Be involved. Maybe for you, this season means you do this in an online capacity. Maybe this means you rearrange your schedule so that you can be involved in church. Remember, Christ loves his church and is working for her good. There is no such thing as a perfect church. But the perfect love of Christ is constantly directed at his church. Jesus identifies with his church. Which means, that as believers in Christ, we too should identify with the church. I would love to help you find a church home if you don’t already belong to one.
Christ is faithful to his people. He will not leave us or forsake us. He is at work for our good. But one day, we will be in the presence of our Savior forevermore, and it will be so good. And in that place, we will see that 2020 wasn’t a wash and it wasn’t a waste. It was yet another year in which God was doing good work in his people.
And in the mean time, it’s okay to get help. It’s okay to see a counselor or therapist. It’s okay to reach out to someone. In fact, it’s wise. It’s okay to not be enough because Jesus really is enough. So, let’s be honest about where we are at. And let’s be honest about the goodness of God in the midst of it all. He really is doing a good work.
Feel free to reach out to me if you need help or a place to belong: firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to chat with you.
I love you. But not as much as Jesus does.