I so enjoyed this most recent blog post of my husband's on his daily devotional called 365 Passages, I had to repost it here. It's powerful!
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, 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. (Philippians l:3-6 — New King James Version)
In these four verses Paul uses words like “thank”, “joy”, “fellowship”, “confident”, “good work”, and “complete”. These are not the words of a depressed, negative, pessimistic man. The Philippian church was not perfect, no group of people ever is, but he speaks about them in a positive, confident way because he is filled with the Holy Spirit and lives by faith. Whenever we don’t have those two things, it’s virtually impossible to look at the world in a positive way.
Paul wrote these confident words from prison, and when we look at all four chapters of the book of Philippians we will find “joy” mentioned five times, and “rejoice” mentioned nine. These are themes of Paul’s writings, and show how a true Christian doesn’t have to be in a good place in order to be happy and joyful. Our joy doesn’t come from our surroundings or possessions, or from people’s opinion of us. Our joy comes from the fact that we belong to God and He is our partner in life — fellowship, in the passage above, could equally be translated partnership. Those who believe are in a partnership with each other, and with God, so how could we ever fail?
Paul is also confident. He could easily give in to doubt and fear, and to the many thoughts — that the devil must have been sending his way — of why things would not work out for him and the church. And yet he decided to be confident! He was confident that God would complete the work that He had begun in them. He saw life as a race, or as a construction project. He knew people had not yet arrived at perfection, but he was sure that God’s work in them would one day be complete.
Do you have the same spirit as Paul? I doubt that your situation is worse than his, and yet maybe he had more confidence and joy than you do. If this is the case… if you lack joy and confidence… if you are unsure of whether God will complete His work in you… you need to change right away. Choose to trust in Him. Believe in what He’s promised hook, line, and sinker. No sitting on the fence. Go all the way with God.