He Who Has Begun a Good Work In You …
By Andy Im
When I decided to give my life to Christ while attending college, my experience certainly wasn’t what I was anticipating. Instead of joy and peace that others spoke about, my day-to-day life was filled with anxiety and feelings of intense guilt.
I felt like I was never good enough and was constantly hitting the “reset” button after every perceived or apparent failure. I tried so hard to be perfect in my diet, exercise, devotional life, and daily habits.
But I never measured up to what I thought were the essential ingredients to being an authentic Seventh-day Adventist Christian. Eventually I came to the conclusion that either I stick with Christianity and go crazy from guilt, or leave all that behind altogether to enjoy the pleasures of the world.
I chose the latter, and said to myself, “If I’m going to enjoy the world and be lost, I might as well enjoy it all the way.” I went from one extreme to the other and fully immersed myself in the enticements of the world. I experienced the artificially induced “high” in many forms. But, it wasn’t long before I realized that the world was a dead-end street and I found myself once again in the pit of despair.
One late night, I began experiencing extraordinary feelings of anxiety after ingesting a particular substance. The experience was abhorrent and terrifying, but there was absolutely no way to escape the predicament I found myself in.
I was desperate.
It was then that I looked across my bedroom and saw the Bible that my mother had left for me. I picked it up and turned to the book of Psalms and began to read.
Moments later, I began experiencing something truly remarkable. While reading the Psalms, the anxiety began to fade away and I found myself taking in and comprehending what I was reading.
“There is power in the word,” I thought to myself. How a drug-induced anxiety could vanish by reading Scripture was about as close to a miracle as I had ever experienced.
What really struck me that night when reading the Psalms was the portrayal of God as Someone who was for me—He was on my side! God wasn’t vindictive, looking to nail me with wrongdoing. I caught a glimpse of Someone who pities His children in the same way a father pities his child (Ps. 103:13). I discovered that God wasn’t out to get me, and that there was no circumstance or predicament that God couldn’t rescue me from (Ps. 139:1-10).
That night was the first of many, where I took the time to discover and read about who God really was. That makes all the difference in the world. How one relates to and experiences God is significantly determined by what we know Him to be.
But that’s not the only thing that especially impacts one’s experience as a Christian. I also discovered the precious teaching of the salvation that comes about through one’s faith and trust in His work to accomplish what we are unable to do for ourselves—regardless of present and future circumstances, as bleak as they may be.
The Bible informs us that the process of salvation is God’s work within us. It’s His responsibility to make the impossible, possible, so long as we give Him the permission to work in us to do of His good pleasure (Phil. 2:12,13).
The experience of salvation is also a process that takes time to iron out foibles, the dissonance we sometimes feel between what we know to be ideal versus our present predicaments and experiences.
Wherever you are in your experience, no matter how bleak the outlook, it’s important to know by faith—not feelings—that God has your back. That He will complete the work that He has started.
In the words of Scripture we can, “[Be] confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).
Jesus is inviting you today to put your salvation completely into His hands. You’re in good hands when you do that. Trust me.
Andy Im serves as director of communications and Religious Liberty for the Michigan Conference. He enjoys photography, fishing, and playing pickle ball in his spare time. Andy is happily married to Laura, and they have two beautiful daughters—Olivia and Karis.
Isn’t it an encouragement to know that God has your back? That He is for you, not against you? That He has pledged Himself to not only start the good work, but to finish it too? All He needs from us is our consent and obedient surrender, as He works out in us His salvation.
Will you give Him full access to your heart and life today? Will you allow Him to not just be your Savior, but your Lord, fully in control of every area of your life? Will you trust His righteousness, and that He knows best how to finish the good work He has begun in you?
- Pray that God would silence the lies of the enemy and show you that He is truly for you and not against you.
- Pray that you would trust His righteousness to save you, and that all self-righteousness would be renounced.
- Pray for an increased emphasis on small group outreach in your local church so that all members are participating in personal witnessing.
- Pray that you would have strength to follow God’s health principles, not as a rigid standard, but to enable your mind and heart to be fully in tune with the Holy Spirit.
- Pray for your 7 names. Pray how to take active steps to reach out to them.
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