This principle is both good and bad for us. How many things have we started without consulting the Lord, and run into trouble? Then suddenly we call upon the Lord for help?
I’m not sure any amount of begging will get God to fix something for your glory. How about for your reputation? How about, “Lord, you have promised to answer prayer so I’m calling on you to fix this, asking you to provide an answer…”
Let me repeat, God only finishes what HE starts.
In the Apostle John’s revelation of Jesus (the book of Revelation) the Lord said to him in Revelation 21:6, “And he said to me, it is done. I am the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end.”
God starts and God finishes. The comfort of Scripture is that God keeps his word. What happens between start and finish can appear like a roller coaster at times, yet the distance between start and finish is really a faith walk. If he is the alpha of who I am and what I am doing, he will be the omega as well.
The Apostle Paul was really confident in God’s ability to follow through on his directions and commitments. He wrote in Phil 1:6, “Being confident of this everything, that he who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
God starts and God finishes.
I want to give you some advice today, which in my past I did not always follow. I’m learning.
Don’t set directions for your life or ministry without knowing God’s will. If you don’t know his will, do what you have to do to find out. Pray, fast, and pray some more. Wait on God — whatever it takes to get you quiet enough to hear God speak.
It would be pure assumption to think that God is automatically approving of your ideas and plans. You may have the right motive, but that does not substitute for obedience. “I meant well…” but does that mean it was God’s will? “I prayed about it…” but did you really hear from God in reply? “It’s good for the kingdom…” but is that actually what God wants you to do in the kingdom?
I’m certainly not suggesting we should all sit around and wait for a voice from heaven to come to us. Many misguided people often say, “I’ll pray about it.” But in reality, it’s simply a delay tactic. They just don’t want to do it. There are obvious functions of every believer that we should be involved in. We don’t need a voice from heaven to share Jesus and live a Christian life.
Watch your ego. It is the visible human expression of pride. To be remembered, to make a name or reputation for ourselves is the human part of all of us. What about if God speaks clearly for you to take the low road? What if there will be no human recognition for what is in your heart? There may be no recognition for what God calls you to do. But if God calls and you obey, there is eternal reward.
Over the last few years, I’ve looked back on my life. How much of my time and ministry was for the Lord and how much was for myself? I don’t know. I’ll have to wait to find out. But I assure you there are things I should never have done even though they were done under the covering of “ministry.”
I’m at the point where I really don’t want to get involved in anything God has not initiated. I receive so many opportunities for ministry, I cannot keep up. Is every opportunity a “yes?” Sometimes it’s very clear. But does God want me running all the time for the cause of ministry or for the cause of my ego?
You know, sometimes it takes more faith to say no to opportunities and rest than it does to work. I have worked too much. I have come to believe in a God of both work and rest—for He rested.
Remember that God is only obligated to finish what he starts. I suggest from this day forward you be very sure this is what God wants you to do. It may be a very hard thing, but it could be the center of God’s will.
The greatest reward is not for results. The greatest reward God gives is for faithfulness. Be faithful to the voice of God and don’t start—or quit—anything without heavenly permission. He will finish only what he started.
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