I think of Philippians 1:6 when I see the blessing button in the picture. The image represents so many people and so many things. So how does a look at a church in Belize help and encourage you? And what does that have to do with Philippians 1:6?
Philippians 1:6 – Completion
Let’s start with the Scripture. The work begun in us is God’s work of salvation. God sees the end from the beginning. Our salvation is a done deal from God’s point of view. But He exists outside of a thing He created called time. Our view of His work in us is shaped by the fact that we are bound by time. So we have a different perspective. What we now accept by faith will not be fully realized until (a word with reference to time) we see Him face to face. Paul said our faith journey is like looking through a glass darkly. But our faith journey will end in sight. That is why Squire Parsons penned his famous lyric:
I’m looking now across that river where my faith will end in sight…
Just one of the blessings I receive from ‘pushing’ the Philippians 1:6 blessing button is the thought of completion. And that is one part of this image from the Calvary Baptist Church in Aguacate, Belize. What we see is the building, but it’s really about you and me. Here’s why…
Philippians 1:6 – Work In Progress
The featured image was taken two weeks ago. But that was not our first visit to this church. So what we see is a work in progress.
In 2016 a group of mission volunteers answered the call to help expand this church building. The wall is blue on the right side of the picture. That’s where the wall ended last year. Our team added on to the wall and the newer part is not yet painted. However, we did not stay long enough to get a roof on the newly expanded structure. But the body of Christ in Aguacate has continued the work. They got the roof up. The latest request for help was for fans & lighting. The other pictures show that work being done.
When I look at this church building I see myself and other believers. That’s not because I’ve worshiped in this place or that Pastor Salvador leads this church. It isn’t even because I know some of the church members. This building is a tangible example of the work being done by the Spirit in my life and in the lives of every disciple of Jesus Christ.
Connecting: Spiritual & Physical
The overarching task of the Holy Spirit is to conform every believer into the image of Christ. The Spirit accomplishes His work in a variety of ways. But however it’s done, His work means two things should be consistently true of me (and you):
- I look more like Christ today than I did last year
- I’ll look more like Christ a year from now than I do today
The Spirit’s work won’t be completed until we stand before Jesus Christ. But it will be completed. So every believer is also a work in progress. And that brings us to what I have called the dirtiest four-letter word in the Church: Change! Until I am an exact representation of Jesus Christ there is change I must embrace. None of us should ever fall to the tempter’s thought:
I’ve arrived. This disciple thing has been mastered.
Philippians 1:6 – Project People
People are God’s mission. And we do well to be sure God’s mission is our mission! Working on that building was a tool. Teaching Pastor Salvador (and others) has been a tool. But the people in the process are God’s project. And I mean all the people, not just those who live in Belize.
Working on this church was one of the Spirit’s tools to shape and conform mission volunteers. The presence of those volunteers in Aguacate (or Santa Teresa, or Punta Gorda) was another tool of the Spirit to shape and conform believers in Belize. The Spirit uses us to sharpen each other. Mission is always a two-way street.
And don’t discount the people you have opportunity to meet. We never know when or how the Spirit is using us at any given moment. I had a few minutes to spend some time with this little guy. There wasn’t a great deal of conversation. However, he was wide-eyed at the people who were visiting his village. He saw what we did. He saw how we did it. His memories will stay with him. And who knows how the Spirit may use those memories in his life. But I remember him. And I also remember thinking about the necessity of setting a good example for him to remember.
Push the blessing button of Philippians 1:6. Be blessed by the knowledge that what has been started in you will be completed. And here is the challenge: Decide in advance to cooperate with the Spirit’s work in you! That will be its own blessing in your life.
Soli Deo Gloria!