Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, 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. Philippians1:1-6
Usually, when we think of what we are grateful for we think examples from the past or our present situation. We are grateful for relationships old, new, and existing. We rejoice in past experiences or present provision. It almost never occurs to us to be grateful for a future reality! And yet, this is what Paul refers to in Philippians 1:6. He is confident in what will come for the Philippians and rejoices because of it. God, who has begun a good work in these believers, will see it to completion. What a promise!
Gratitude and thanking God for what he has provided is just the beginning. Because of who God is and what he has done through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we can look with hope to the future knowing that no present suffering, sorrow, or circumstance is in vain. What God has begun in us- making us more and more reflective of the way and heart of Jesus- and in the world – restoring and recreating it to what it was always intended to be— will be completed one day. As we look around at ourselves and at our world this sometimes seems impossible. We are so far from perfection that it can be hard to see how things will ever change. But we live in a world and as a people who are “already but not yet.” We already bear God’s good work in us, but it is not yet brought to bear in its fullness. His victory is already won and secure, but we still look forward to the day when all things will be made new. As we walk forward into 2021 and all this year will bring, it is a reason to rejoice that whatever happens this year, we can look forward with confidence to the day that the work is complete and all is right.
Listen to a song that inspires gratitude for God’s good work in your life. Good options might be “Goodness of God,” “Yes I Will” or “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” What do these songs tell you about God’s future promises? How do they encourage you to think with gratitude about the future, whatever may come?
By Jessica Rust