flourishing (adj): marked by vigorous and healthy growth; very active and successful
finish (noun): the last part of a process, something that completes or perfects
“There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.” Phil. 1:6
Flourishing. Sounds exciting, fancy, maybe even a bit showy, doesn’t it?
God will bring his work in me to a flourishing finish?
The highlight video starts to play in my mind…
All of my efforts recognized?
All of my successes applauded?
All of my good deeds displayed for all to see?
Images of crossing a finish line with flags flying, music blaring, ribbons, medals, and congratulations wrap up this elaborate daydream.
But then I remember that the celebration is not going to be about me.
What a relief!
Because the reality is that most of my efforts fall flat. And when I think back over my life, I remember far more failures than successes. And my “good deeds”? I’m not sure if they were genuine or guilt-driven? Selfishly motivated or truly for the benefit of others?
And I start to wonder…does the way I live my life matter?
It seems like I’m occasionally running, mostly walking, and sometimes crawling in this marathon called life. I have moments of energy and creativity and strength, and moments of defeat and exhaustion. It’s often hard to imagine everything ending well or turning out good. At times, simply finishing this race can seem almost impossible.
But this verse is meant to encourage us to keep going, to trust that the one who began this work in us will bring it to completion. And no matter how weak or worn we sometimes feel, we can be reassured again and again that he will not give up on us. He is committed to taking us all the way to the finish line. He has promised to be with us every step of the way.
And he reminds us that the way we live this life with him really does matter. Because as we submit our lives–our efforts, our actions, our successes, and our failures–to him, he is the one who works all things together for good. He is the one who will accomplish the work he began. He is the one who will bring it to a flourishing finish.
Not a celebration of my work for him, but of his work in and through me.
Not a pretentious, inflated affair, but the triumphant victory of his truth and love.
Not a fleeting feeling of happiness, but the authentic, lasting joy of Jesus.
Flourishing, according to my dictionary and thesaurus, is defined this way:
Having attained a desired end
Marked by much life, movement, or activity
Marked by vigorous growth and well-being
That sounds like the kind of finish only God can accomplish.
Invite Him in: Thank Jesus for his faithfulness to you and to his work on this earth. What an honor you have been given to run this race beside him. And what joy you can look forward to when he brings you across the finish line complete and perfect and victorious in his love.