This piece began as I meditated on Philippians 1:1-11 and in particular two things that stood out:
1. “That he who began a good work in you (me?) will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
2. Paul’s prayer that you (I?) would ‘grow in love, knowledge and wisdom so that I can discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ- to the glory of God’
Some might argue that the text was not written to us and so we need to understand the context of the readers and so begin to grasp the intention of the author and therefore what we might take from this text to instruct and encourage ourselves. On the other hand you can just allow the Holy Spirit to wield this word, this sword of truth, to cut into our being and clear away the thoughts, ideas and, values and attitudes that poison us and so allow the good that is in us to flourish.
At the time i did this I felt somewhat abandoned (for reasons I don’t wish to go into here yet) and this first cut removed the lie. God has not, and will never give up on me even if all others do. God is in this for the long haul.
This work that God is doing goes in phases and cycles intended to shape us in the likeness of Christ. Perhaps if we were created in his likeness this must mean that other stuff has mutated our nature and needs to be cut away to reveal the likeness of Christ.
Why does God do this? Because He loves me. This is surely the best of God, the heart of God, the ultimate motivation of all of God’s work and the holiness and righteousness of God: that of a lover loving the beloved so utterly and completely that the lover becomes the love, the gift, bestowed upon the beloved. To grow in such likeness is to become the wisdom of God, which is Love and this is only possible by receiving this gift. Not earning it. Not buying it, Not creating it, Not copying it or acting it out or pretending to have it, It cannot be obtained or even owned for in receiving this gift we become it too. A transformation of the soul, the heart, the mind, the being.
This grace rain that floods our being and ripples out around the world.
This is all from God and nothing, absolutely nothing from us beyond our willing participation in this work of Grace.
Thus the lie that my Holiness and righteousness is a product of my conduct, my works, my intentions, my words, faith or anything whether good or bad, exemplary or shameful, is plucked away before it could take root and poison my confidence in God. As the scripture says: “Our greatest acts of righteousness are as filthy rags (blood socked tampons) before God” (Isaiah 64:6) Like the Apostle Paul, my best hope is that I will be found dressed in the righteousness that comes through faith in Jesus Christ. (Phil 3:9).
It is Christ who makes us worthy, who calls us, equips us and sends us into his world to serve as he directs us, that we can become one of the ripples of the grace rain of heaven.