Devotional thought: A Long Time To Create Something Worth While...
Philippians 1:6, "...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."
When Peter Jackson released the first movie in the trilogy, The Lord Of The Rings, in 2001, millions became enchanted in a world of fantastical creatures and magic. The movies were an instant hit due in some part to the genius of Jackson but mostly due to the immersive world that J.R.R Tolkien created in his fantasy series. The world that Tolkien created feels so complete in detail and so effortless in its creativity, so perfect, that most do not realize the expansive amount of time it took to create.
Tolkien did not initially set out to write fantasy novels and create an entire world that he called "Middle Earth." He first ventured into his brilliant writing career when he read the phrase "Middle Earth," in an Old English manuscript and it inspired a poem. That was in 1914 and he was only 22. Three years later in 1917, he wrote "The Fall of Gondolin," which was the first story of his fantasy works.
Then, 13 years later (1930), he began telling his children a bedtime story about a strange and funny creature called a hobbit. Seven years later his book titled The Hobbit was published. The publisher immediately asked Tolkien for a sequel, and 12 years later in 1949 he completed the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The trilogy was published five years later (1954). In other words, from the time he first saw the phrase "Middle Earth," to the time his masterpiece about Middle Earth was published, it took Tolkien 40 years of creative effort. It can take a long time to create something worth while.
Shouldn't the same be true of us? The Christian life is not a sprint but a marathon. Though when we are born again we receive the benefits of Jesus Christ's perfect, sinless life upon us that is only the beginning of a process by which God is creating us into the image of His Son Jesus. God is working in you to change you and this process takes time.
I once visited a saintly elderly woman's house who had the familiar sign on her wall, "Please be patient with me. God isn't finished with me yet!" This isn't an excuse for living a sinful lifestyle but a reality that calls us to press on towards the upward call in Christ Jesus. Paul explains this later in Philippians 3 where he says, "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:12-14).
You are a work of God and He is not finished with you yet. It is a work of a lifetime. It can take a long time to create something worth while. So, be patient with yourself and press on, never giving up. For I am certain of this, "...that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
Prayer: Holy Father, we are grateful today that you are working in us and that You will be faithful to finish what you've begun. Help us to never give up but to press on knowing You will not give up on us but will see us to completion in Jesus Christ. In His name, amen.