First, I read from 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 and 5:7-15; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15; Romans 14:10-23; and Ephesians 5:15-17.
Today's Bible study has so many bits and pieces. It primarily is speaking to those who are saved and walking in Christ; while at the same rate, speaking to every person on Earth.
Live By Faith, Not By Sight
From 2 Corinthians 5:7-15 we learn that in this life "We live by faith, not by sight" 2 Cor. 5:7; that the things that are seen are temporary, but the things that aren't seen are eternal (2 Cor. 4:18). Because of what God did, coming to Earth in bodily form as Jesus Christ, the ministry He stood for, the persecution, judgement, and sins He took upon Himself to the Cross, dying and raising from the dead 3 days later, THAT should be enough to put a fire under our hiney to serve and love Him. Unfortunately, for so many it's not. To be honest, I stumble and fail often. Since I gave my life back over to Jesus, I have never stopped loving Him; however, I have not always served Him. My flesh takes over and I act out on emotions and feelings, rather than living by the Holy Spirit in me.
It should be Jesus' LOVE that that compels us (2 Cor. 5:14) to live not like we have been accustomed to, but live differently, to love differently, to serve differently, to be a wife differently, to be a mother differently (and if you're a guy reading this -- to be a husband and a father differently) and to treat others differently. Jesus' LOVE and Him dying for all should cause us to live FOR HIM (2 Cor. 5:15).
My Goal to Please Him
Out of a reverent (respectful) fear and love I want to make it my goal to please Him. Just as Scripture says in 2 Corinthians 5:10 -- "For we must ALL appear before the judgement seat of Christ, that each may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad." Notice that we will have to give account for the good AND the bad. There is no "but, but, but -- he made me" ... "but, but, but -- I was under a lot of stress and that's why I acted that way" ... "but, he made it so hard not to act that way". It doesn't matter. There will be no excuse. Because of what Jesus has done for me, I want it to be my goal to please HIM, in every aspect of my life. Trust me, it's not easy and I will most assuredly fail. For that, I am utterly grateful that His grace is sufficient; that His mercy is ever present when I wasn't given a spankin' for what I deserve. Forgiveness goes a long way -- as far as the east is from the west. His love is everlasting -- nothing compares to it.
One other thing that I want to point out from my Bible Study from this morning is the firm foundation which our faith should rest upon and those layers that we add to the foundation.
1 Corinthians 3:11-15
11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw,
13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work.
14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.
15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
Jesus is the ONLY foundation that can be built and that will last. It does not matter what foundation you are trying to build, if it is not Jesus as the foundation, it will crumble. Period. If what is added to the firm foundation (that is built by Jesus) is not of excellent quality -- the gold, silver, and costly stones (1 Cor. 3:12) -- it will not be a sound structure when tested by fire. What we, as believers and follower of Jesus Christ, give to others will determine the reward. When verse 15 says that "if it is burned up, he will suffer loss" it means that your reward in Heaven will be less than what it could have been. I do not know about you, but I want the greatest reward that is possible for me to have. I want to merely escape through the fire, I want to come out of the fire refined and stronger than ever -- with much gusto! ;)
1 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."
So, whatever you do during the day and in the night, think about the quality of your words, your thoughts, and your actions. Remember to run the race with great faith, striving to finish the race, and to get that heavenly reward. I am running right there with you!!
May you give glory and honor to Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith!