You Are a Work in Progress

Read: Philippians 1:3-11

I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (v. 6)

Sometimes you may be tempted to abandon the Christian life because it feels unrewarding. Growth seems painfully slow: the same sins tempt you, character flaws depress you, your spiritual life feels stale. You may begin to wonder, “What’s the point of it all?”

During these spiritual dry spells, thanksgiving is difficult. But Paul reminds us that our lives are under construction—and God is a faithful builder. “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion.” The “work” that Paul describes here is the process of sanctification, “the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ” (v. 11). God is transforming you, through the work of the Holy Spirit, to conform you to the likeness of Christ. You are a work in progress.

As with any building project, there are times when progress is agonizingly slow. When you experience personal difficulties or setbacks, you may be tempted to think that you haven’t grown at all. This is a kind of tunnel vision, focusing only on the present and forgetting the ways in which God has been faithful to you in the past.

One of the first habits of the thankful heart is to remember—to spend time reflecting on the past and the ways in which God has been at work in your life. How has God changed you and challenged you over this last year?

As you pray, thank God for the areas in your life that are in progress. (1 Thess. 5:24)

About the Author

Jane Olson is a college counselor and high school teacher. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and children.

This entry is part 2 of 15 in the series Habits of a Thankful Heart