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Two Parts God

When I was a child, I prayed for long hair and long nails. How childish and how vain, right? As I got older and obeyed the gospel, at the age of twelve, I remember praying for wisdom—wisdom from above as mentioned in James 3:13-18. In hindsight, I realized my vain childish prayer for long hair and nails was somehow connected to my prayer for wisdom. They were connected through my desire for physical and spiritual confidence. Coming to an understanding of this took years of meditation and study. Over the course of those years, the section of scriptures that I often refer to as my favorite passages are Philippians 1:6-11. These inspired words from the apostle Paul continue to spark my childlike motivation for confidence every time I read them. Confidence in how I feel, confidence in how I think, and confidence in how I act.

Philippians 1:6 says “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” The verb phrase “being confident,” in the Greek, carries the idea of the state of being persuaded; fully persuaded (peitho). This action is on the doer, that is you and me, to carry out the responsibility to be fully persuaded by God. The prayer for long hair and nails came from a little girl’s desire to feel good about herself. The desire to be accepted by others as naturally beautiful, blessed by God, if you will. For a young girl these desires have an ability to persuade how she feels, thinks and acts. The next verb phrase, “has begun,” refers to the action of making a beginning (enarchomai). This action is all God. He made a beginning of a good work in the Christian, in the one who believes and obeys the gospel of Christ. The prayer for wisdom came from a young Christian’s desire to know what to feel about herself, what to think, and what to do. The desire to confidently do good and fulfill the will of God. The last verb phrase, “will complete,” or “will perform” is the action to fulfill completely, accomplish, or make perfect (epiteleo). This action of fact is in the future tense and is also God’s doing. Ladies, this two-to-one ratio (2:1) of two parts God and one part me is enough to fully persuade me, and I pray enough to fully persuade you, that we can confidently produce fruits of righteousness. 

Matthew 4:4 says “...It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” There are powerful lessons to be learned from every inspired word of God. The lessons I have learned from Philippians 1:6-11 are: (1) How to be confident or fully persuaded, (2) How to judge between good and evil, and (3) How to be filled with the fruits of righteousness by Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God. 

How to be confident or fully persuaded: “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and in all discernment” (Phil. 1:9). God uses His inspired word to fully persuade the hearers and doers of His word through Paul's prayer encouraging our love to abound in knowledge and in all discernment. In other words, when our affection (agape) for 

precise and correct knowledge (epignosis) and for all perception and judgment (aisthesis)

causes us to be better or excels then we can be confident or fully persuaded. 

How to judge between good and evil: “…that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ” (Phil. 1:10). The confidence or full persuasion stated in verse 9 should produce an ability to approve the things that are of more value (diaphero), to be tested as genuine (eilikrines), and to be faultless (aproskopos). Precise and correct knowledge does not originate from man. It originates from God. So we must learn God’s judgment of what is good and what is evil as truth for us to be fully persuaded to accept the good and reject the evil.

How to be filled with the fruits of righteousness: “…being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (Phil. 1:11). Knowing the difference between good and evil produces or supplies liberally (pleroo) fruits which are seen in our works, our actions, and our deeds (karpos) of righteousness or specifically Christian justification (dikaiosyne), to the honor (doxa) and the commendation (epainos) of God.

While I am far from being that young child praying for long hair and nails, I am still a child of God desiring physical and spiritual confidence. Thankfully, today I am fully persuaded of this very thing, that my God who has begun a good work in me will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ! My confidence or full persuasion mentioned in verse 6 is supported by my love for knowledge and all discernment mentioned in verse 9. My trust in God’s wisdom of what is excellent mentioned in verse 10 supplies liberally (pleroo) to my work, my actions, and my deeds (karpos) of justification (dikaiosyne), to the glory and praise of God mentioned in verse 11. I pray you are fully persuaded of this very thing too. God bless. 


By Evelyn Bonner

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