Finish What He Started
Our God is able, more than capable
To be faithful to the end
He’ll finish what He started
~ from “Finish What He Started”, MercyMe
I tend to have a problem with completion. I’m an all-or-nothing type of girl; if I can’t complete it, or can’t have it completely, I think I might as well not bother. I’d rather skip the journey and get right to the destination. And yet, I have an embarrassing number of projects in various stages of un-finish in my house (and in my life). But if there is anything at all I’m learning about the Creator of the Universe, it’s that he’s much more interested in the process than he is in the finished product.
I think most of us wish we could skip the process. We want everything to be finished, fixed, perfect. And of course that doesn’t happen. It seems especially true of our spiritual condition. Have you ever wished God would just make us perfect, control us so that there was no more pain and evil in the world? I certainly have. (But that’s a whole topic for another day!)
Obviously, God does not snap his fingers and make us perfect – at least from our perspective. It’s really not about the end result; God already sees that. The cross accomplished that for us: the cross has made believers holy and perfect in God’s sight. It’s about the process, the becoming. It’s about God working in us through Christ. Redemption is instantaneous, but it’s also never finished this side of heaven. We are continually being remade in the image of Christ.
If you’re a believer, you’re a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). He started something in you the moment you confessed with your mouth and believed in your heart that Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9). You are not, however, a finished creation. But take heart! “…he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” ~ Philippians 1:6b.
We won’t be finished until we’re home in heaven. Here on Earth we’re a work in progress. God’s purposes in doing it this way are a mystery to me – except that I believe it goes back to free will, God giving us choice. The only way to completion, while still being creatures of choice, is to take the hard journey.
But God called us to this! We were made for it before our birth: chosen, predestined.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
~ Romans 8:28-30
So we don’t need to worry about our progress (unless of course we’re ignoring his lead). If we’re obeying, we’re where we need to be. When we obey, we’re “remaining in him”. This is what it means to abide! The journey is not meant to be impossible, or even a burden – Jesus promises he shares the burden with us (because of course the journey can and will be hard). But he is the vine from which we draw our life. He supports us, guides us, works in us.
Jesus is vine, we are branches. We bear much fruit if we are in him. Nothing apart from him. 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.
~ Philippians 1:6
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.”
~ John 15:1-8
These truths are such beauty to me. When I get anxious about my path, my progress, my future, I can rest in these promises. It’s not about the end – Jesus did that work, so the end is already perfect! It’s about the getting there.
There’s a song by a little band called MercyMe (you may have heard of them? If not, you need to!) The song is “Finish What He Started”, and it so beautifully pictures this promise of God. I hope it encourages you as much as it does me! Here it is: