“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”
Philippians 1:6 (NLT)
I guess some things in life just go flatline. Oh, it’s not that there is an actual death but that things just seem to be so routine that there just isn’t any life to it. To give an example, A.W.Tozer would accuse the Nation of Israel of coming under the spell of the psychology of the routine. He said their problem was that they gave up hope of ever getting to the land that God promised them so they became satisfied with wandering in a circle and camping out in nice, comfortable places. Basically, twiddling their thumbs waiting for the customary to keep on being customary.
Tozer would point out that “in the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, that Moses spoke to the children of Israel, according to all that the LORD had commanded him to give to them.” (Deuteronomy 1:3) Pretty much telling them, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Turn and set your journey, and go…” (Deuteronomy 1:6b-7a) If I dare to paraphrase this myself, I might sound like R. Lee Ermey, in Full Metal Jacket by saying, “Now get up, get on your feet!” Well maybe not exactly like that but it would sure break up the routine of being docile, wouldn’t it?
I sometimes wonder if I have fallen for the “dictatorship of the routine”? A place where I can already predict how its gonna go because I have done the same thing over, and over, and over, and over, and…well you get the picture. It sure can give someone the illusion that they’re simply in a “valley moment” and that God has got bigger plans in store. We’ll just have to “pray and wait on the LORD.” Almost sounds like a very kind way of telling yourself it’s okay to keep wandering in a circle and camping out in nice, comfortable places, doesn’t it? So much for Old Testament thinking.
However, if there is one thing to take away from the New Testament is that the apostle Paul didn’t see the church in Philippi as a bunch of folks who were stuck in the rut of routine. On the contrary, He would pen this about them…
“Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now.” (Philippians 1:3-5)
Now we need to be mindful that he is writing this from a place where he may have been wandering in circle but it wasn’t exactly camping out in a nice, comfortable, place. It was a from a prison cell and it must have brought him great encouragement to know that the Philippians weren’t sitting idle waiting for him to come to them and show them the next move. They were already at it.
When you look at what Paul says to them in verse 6, he is assured, not in just his own salvation but in that of the Philippian church. They are the real deal because he has seen them in action. He is confident that they share in the same Spirit that he does so a kinda deposit has been made in their lives. And because of that shared faith, Paul knows that this work that has been started will be seen to its completion because of this simple reason…God doesn’t save anyone and then not turn them into the likeness of His Son in one way or another.
I might be preaching what I’m about to say to myself BUT in light of how Paul saw himself through the church in Philippi, “You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News” (Phil 1:7b), it might be to our advantage to “Now get up! Get on your feet!” and start in a different heading. God made a promise to the Nation of Israel to take them to place flowing with milk and honey and now, because of the completed work of Jesus Christ we can break free from the dictatorship of the routine. In either case, God promised.
Many of us have fallen into this rut that, though saved, God really doesn’t have much for us. What’s those phrases, oh, “Saved and Satisfied” or “Maintenance -Free Salvation.” That’s all nonsense and most likely a lie straight from the pit of Hell. Paul was convinced his time with the Philippians had just started and he looked forward to being with them again to continue doing the Lord’s work. That should be our mindset as well. After all, ain’t much getting done just wandering around mountain, camping out in a nice, comfortable place. Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a husband, a father, has an education in Biblical doctrine and is a graduate of The Colony of Mercy. He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org