by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
Philippians is Paul's love letter. The epistle is also a good instrument for learning the secret of this great man. Paul considered living Christ and dying gain. And, although he wrote from a prison cell, his refrain was "Rejoice in the Lord always."
He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Phil. 1:6).
Through the gospel God has begun "a good work" in all of us. But none of us has yet arrived.
In the meantime we share the discipline of God's grace. We are like classmates in school: We undertake the same studies, and we get the same training for the same goal. Yet all of us are imperfect this side of graduation.
Intimate knowledge of each other's shortcomings may cause us to lose respect for each other. "She may call herself a Christian, but she's got quite a mouth on her." Imperfections in other Christians get on our nerves.
But look at it this way: imperfections in Christians show that Christ's work in us is incomplete. Every one of us can see such an incomplete product in the mirror.
God does not excuse these flaws. He works on them. And he wants us to work on them too. But our Maker doesn't suspend fellowship with us until we reach perfection. And neither may we suspend fellowship with each other because of our flaws.
People leave a lot of unfinished business when they die. But God always finishes what he has begun. While we work diligently in God's school, we are "confident of this, that he who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
That will be graduation day. And our perfection will be not an accomplishment but a gift.
Andrew Kuyvenhoven's Daylight, a modern devotional classic, was originally published in 1994. This edition is copyright by Faith Alive Christian Resources, from whom may be ordered Daylight, the predecessor of Twilight.
A man of many accomplishments, Andrew Kuyvenhoven is probably best known for his contributions to Today (formerly The Family Altar), a widely-used monthly devotional booklet associated with the Back to God Hour. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations for this edition of Twilight are from the New International Version