I’m what they call a monogamous knitter: I only knit one project at a time. I restrict myself to one work in progress because otherwise I’ll wind up with unfinished projects stuck in nooks and crannies all over my house. As it is, my craft cabinet is stuffed full with the detritus of half-completed projects. There’s the cross stitch project I started six Christmases ago, the throw pillows I never got around to covering, the skirt pattern I was convinced would help me overcome my deep-seated hatred of sewing and actually produce something wearable, and the scrapbook supplies that are gathering dust. My craft habit comes with baggage.
The good news is that Christ doesn’t treat us that way. Listen to what Paul says: “I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:4-6).
Christ does not abandon his work in us. He doesn’t get bored and move on to something else. He does’t get distracted and leave us in a closet gathering dust. He doesn’t get fed up with the difficulty of the project and unravel all his work so he can use the raw materials for something else. What Christ begins in us, he will carry on to completion.
And what is it that Christ is forming in us? Christ is working so that “we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). Through the Spirit of God, Christ is at work in us transforming us into his likeness. He is growing us up into maturity through faith and knowledge of him so that when people see us they realize we look a lot like Jesus.
Remembering this helps me give others grace. It helps me give myself grace too. Sometimes the people around me blow it. Sometimes I do. When I mess up or I’m troubled by someone else’s mistake, it helps to remember that we are all works in progress. Christ is still working on us, transforming, refining, and redeeming. The mess I see now is not the finished work. Remembering Christ’s work in me is helpful when I start tripping over the comparison trap. I start comparing my weaknesses to other people’s strengths or hold my fledgling attempts up to their thirty-years of experience. It doesn’t do any of us any good. But in those moments when I feel less-than, not-welcome, or not-enough, I can remember that Christ is still at work in me.
Today, be encouraged that Christ will not give up on you. If he calls you to repent, do so. If he calls you to submit, change, risk, try, listen, or speak, do it. He is at work in you to transform you and shape you for his glory, and our God will not give up on you. Don’t be the one who gives up on you either.
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