God will complete the good work he began in you … Your love will abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, so you will be sincere and blameless going into the day of Christ. Philippians 1:6–10
If one of the keys to success is to “begin with the end in view,” one way to measure current success is to look forward to the day from which we will look back on everything. This method helps us gauge our success, because it allows us to compare how we are now to how we want to be: we want to hear “Well done, good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of your master.” Another approach is to look inside ourselves. This method helps us by illuminating how much we’ve grown emotionally and intellectually. A third approach is to observe and evaluate our choices. The most concrete of the three, this third method keeps us from fooling ourselves, because action always follows approval; when we approve and choose what is excellent, we are succeeding. Our success at the coming of Christ—determined by our consistency and irreproachability—is contingent on how well we are able to love and choose what is excellent. Fortunately, our contingency is God’s certainty. As often as we fail to finish good work that we’ve begun, God never fails. He will complete his work in us: perfecting our affections, our actions, and our acceptance.
God of majesty and mystery, work in me so I approve and do all that pleases you and profits me, both now and for eternity. Amen.