Friday night devotional by Jeremy Birch, 10/9/15
Week 2 of Fall Quarter is already past, but it’s still very much the beginning of the year. It’s an exciting time: our annual evangelistic Fall BBQ is approaching, small groups are forming and getting ready to go, and we have a whole year of ministry, learning, and sanctification ahead of us. There’s a common question that you’ll hear around GOC at this juncture in time, sounding something like, “How do you want to grow this year?” Some want to grow in diligently reading their Bibles. Others hope to cultivate a greater heart to evangelize their classmates or families. Still others desire growth in teaching Scripture, or discipling others, or prayer. Making these kinds of goals is a good practice. We remember well Paul’s instruction to the Philippians: “Work out your salvation in fear and trembling” (Php 2:12). Disciplined work toward growth in holiness is commanded of us, and identifying goals for that growth can be helpful.
Let’s not forget, however, the rest of what Paul teaches in Philippians 2:13: “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” It’s made clear that even as we apply ourselves earnestly to the work of sanctification, God is the one who is truly accomplishing it. Paul makes this clear even in the opening words of this letter, expressing his confidence that God, who began the work of salvation, will be the one to complete it (1:6). Paul also prays that believers will be “filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ” (1:11). This year, let’s strive hard for holiness and obedience before the Lord. But throughout all our efforts, let’s aim for humility and dependence on the Lord and His grace.
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.
1 Corinthians 15:10