God speaks to us in a lot of ways. For me, He often speaks in what I call themes. Ideas that keep popping up over and over, in a variety of places, coming from all sorts of people. When I notice these recurring themes, I know it’s time to pay attention–and to dig a little deeper.
One of the themes that has come at me from all side lately is completeness.
It started with studying Philippians in our Bible study. In Phil 1:6 we see this:
“…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;”
I’ve read this verse countless times. But I think I’d always read it as “will complete it in the day of Christ.” As in, when we’re finally with Him, we’ll finally be complete. Perfect. Whole.
But that’s not what it says. It says until that day. Until that day, He will complete the work in us. Why? Because the work, the completeness, the fullness, the perfection is in regards to doing His work here on earth. It’s not about achieving heavenly perfection someday. It’s about going out EVERY day and serving in His name. This is completeness in Him. This is wholeness. This is perfection–another translation of the Greek telos used in this verse.
It’s a concept we have a hard time wrapping our hearts around, because we are always keenly aware of what we’re lacking. We’re not smart enough or strong enough or energetic enough or nice enough or wise enough or…
But He is. All we have to be is willing enough. Willing enough to step outside ourselves, outside our comfort zones, and say, “Change me, O Lord. And use me to change the world for You.”
As we were discussing this verse in Philippians, I was reminded of Paul’s benediction to the Corinthian church in his second letter to them (II Cor 13:11):
11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.
Become complete. The more literal translation would be, be restored or be made whole. Paul’s prayer that he leaves people with often has something like this in it–he bids them all to be WHOLE in Christ. Individually…and as a community, as a church. This wholeness, this restoration is tied to unity and living in peace with one another. What more pointed call could we receive to #BeBetter and treat each other with the same love He extends?
I’d already been pondering these things, pondering community and self and Church and the work of God in all of these, when a friend read this verse over me and my husband, from Hebrews 13:20-21 (another benediction):
20 Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
These verses sum up all I’d been piecing together. And here’s the really goose-bumpy part. As I was listening to her message, as soon as she said, “I have a verse for you guys,” I got that feeling. You know the one–that one that says, “Pay attention.” And I thought, “This is going to have something to do with completeness.” Then she read those words, and I just got a chill all over me.
Because YES. This is exactly what I’d been thinking. This completeness, this wholeness, this perfection isn’t MY completeness, wholeness, or perfection. It is God working IN ME so that I can work FOR HIM.
He will equip us. He will enable us. He will fill in all our gaps and holes, polish out all our flaws. Not to make us prettier or even sturdier–to make us able to do what He needs us to do.
And He will do this NOW, and every day, until we’re with Him. Toss aside that old saying “God isn’t finished with me yet” and replace it with a new saying:
“God completes me each day.”