What God has started within you, He will finish!

At some time or another, most of us have observed a flock of sheep. Out of a flock of one hundred sheep, I readily concede that some may be smarter than others. But they are all sheep. You do not see any of them reading self-help books or gathering together to discuss how to be better sheep. It is the shepherd’s job to call them, care for them, and lead them where they need to go, when they need to go. The sheep have no responsibilities. They are simply subject to the shepherd’s care and guidance throughout their entire life. Do the sheep trust the shepherd automatically? Not often. It is normal for the shepherd to develop this trust over a period of years, through consistent and beneficial care.
Do you think the sheep would want to depend on, and follow, a shepherd who was a hard taskmaster? Who left them to fend for themselves when times were hard, or brutalized them whenever he was around? I don’t think so. So it is with our relationship with Christ. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so is His loving-kindness toward us (Psalm 103:8, 11). He is the Shepherd who is in complete control of caring for us. This is not limited only to our physical needs, but includes our spiritual needs as well. Yes, every aspect of our spiritual maturity is in His hands!
How comforting is this to you? How confident can we be that God has given us a Great Shepherd, and He will do everything necessary to produce in us all that is pleasing to Him?
We can be very confident. Why? Because scripture declares that our Great Shepherd Jesus, whom God raised from the dead, has given us a promise in a unilateral and everlasting agreement which He signed with His own blood:
"And now may the God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he who became the great Shepherd of the sheep by an everlasting agreement between God and you, signed with his blood, produce in you through the power of Christ all that is pleasing to him" (Hebrews 13:20-21, TLB).
These verses magnify two freedom-truths that are part of the foundation of our relationship with God. As is frequently the case in scripture, one truth comes from what the verses affirmatively say, while the other comes from what they do not say.
First, these verses do include a sweeping promise from God. This promise is specific and made as a blood oath. You don’t get more serious or sobering than an agreement that someone has been willing to sign in his or her own blood. Well, that is what God did in this case. God gave His personal guarantee that HE would produce IN us, through the power of the Great Shepherd Jesus Christ, ALL things pleasing to Him. Reread these verses carefully and let that sink in for a moment. Do you believe God? He said that HE (not us) would do it all—every last bit of it!
Isn’t that an incredible statement? What part of that promise is left for us to do? Nothing! He promised in a blood oath to do all of it. This is what we see again in Philippians 1:6: “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Who is the one that produces in us ALL that is pleasing to God? Praise the Lord—it is all produced in us by our Great Shepherd!
Second, these verses are also wonderful for what they do not say. They are entirely devoid of anything that God requires us to do. Nowhere in any of these verses does it say, “God will produce everything that is pleasing to Him, if you let Him,” or, “God will help you produce in your life those things that are pleasing to Him.” No, it says that He will produce it all in you. By what means? By your energy, willingness, or effort? No, by the power of Christ working in you. Praise God for our Great Shepherd!
This is yet another example of how important it is to read scripture carefully. It is easy to misread these verses and conclude that we have something to do for God. We can read the phrase, “Equip you with all you need for doing his will,” and think that we have a part to play in doing God’s will. If we didn’t have a part to play, certainly God would not have “equipped” us to do His will. But look more carefully at Hebrews 13:21. It is clear that the “equipping” God did was to equip us with Christ as our Great Shepherd. It is this very Christ in us who signed this agreement with His own blood, to “produce in you through the power of Christ all that is pleasing to him.” In reality, we are just dumb sheep and Christ, our Great Shepherd, is producing it all in us.
From the book, "A Different Place," The peace and freedom that comes from knowing: God has done it all—He is all we need, pages 279-282.