“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 1:6).
With Summer right around the corner, many people are making vacation plans. A necessary evil of a vacation is travel — either by car, plane, boat, bus. Each of these modes of travel come with their own special variety of misery. So, when traveling to a destination, we often think in terms of how many more miles or hours until we reach our destination (until we can get out of this car, off this plane). We tend not to think in terms of how many miles we have already traveled — it’s how many more miles or hours that still lay ahead of us that at that moment seems most important.
It’s like this in the Christian life: We tend to focus upon the distance that lay between where we are right now in our Christian life and where we would like to be in our Christian life. For instance, when it comes to the Christian virtue of “love,” we will often think about how unloving we are and how we need to grow in love in order to be a better Christian. Often the distance between those two points seems so great that it discourages us on the spot. What we fail to recognize is that since beginning our journey with Jesus Christ, we have grown in Christian love. In other words, where we are now in Christ is far from where we were when we started out in Christ. While looking ahead to where we need to go is important for our growth, it is just as important to be encouraged by how far God has taken us from where we used to be!
Philippians 1:6 reminds us that a good work began in us the moment we became children of God: The Holy Spirit’s work of making us more like Jesus Christ in every way — and this work will continue in us until we are no longer on the earth. In the meantime, don’t forget to look back from time to time, to see how far the Holy Spirit has brought you in Christ-likeness. While the distance that lay ahead may discourage you, the distance already traveled with encourage you!