Why Every Christian Needs To Hear This Message

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Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day [we all stand before Christ] will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. – 1 Corinthians 3:12 (NKJV)

What materials are you building your life with? Is it with pure motives, like gold, silver, or precious stones? Or is your work driven by selfish ambition and conceit, i.e. wood, hay, or straw? Paul’s message above to the Corinthian church is one that every Christian needs to hear again and again.

One of Those “Amen or Oh My” Verses

When Jesus saved me, I was a club DJ—and truly godless in every sense of the word. I didn’t grow up in Church, I had never read a Bible, nor can I remember ever meeting an authentic Christian person before college. But in the middle of my chain-smoking and wild ways, I had a revelation of Jesus at my father’s deathbed, and within a year’s time God sent me a friend who bought me a New Living Translation Bible because she wanted me to have something I could understand.

I would do my DJ-thing at night and pour over the Scriptures during the day. Reading the Word for the first time, I was enthralled with the beauty of it all—especially the “red words”, the teachings of Christ. But I continually had this thought come to me, “DO PEOPLE ACTUALLY READ THIS BOOK?”. So much was shocking. The verse above, 1 Corinthians 3:12, caused a similar reaction in me. I call it one of those “amen or oh-my” verses of the Bible. To this day, I still wonder if we Christian folk really catch the gravity of what Paul is saying here!

What is Paul talking about?

In context, Paul is teaching about leaders in the Body of Christ. He’s saying to the church, “You Corinthians are so enamored with this leader or that leader, but you are not enamored by the right things. You draw your worth and value from the leader that you follow, thinking so highly of yourself, and your leader. But your judgment is off: you’re seeing things in the flesh and not from God’s point of view. You’re so infatuated with gifted people that you forget a gifted-leader is simply a servant of God, working for God’s glory (the One whom you should really be enamored with). Stop putting so much stock in people. Remember, when Jesus returns, ALL of us believers will stand before Him, and with eyes like fire He will see through all the flash and external stuff and give us a TRUE opinion of how well we’ve built our ministries.” (Paraphrased, 1 Corinthians 3:3-13)

What are we building… and how are we building it?

All throughout the Bible, God refers to both our personal lives and our ministry (our work, our calling) as buildings. In Psalm 118:22, people are referred to as builders: “the Stone that the builders have rejected, this became the Chief Cornerstone.” [emp. added] (NKJV) Likewise, Jesus taught people to build their house (their personal life) on the rock of His Word. (Matthew 7:24-27) The Psalmist warned, if we build something that God’s not building, we labor in vain. (Psalm 127:1) This labor represents our calling, work, ministry—anything we set out to accomplish before God. Of course, then we have the Apostle Paul here in our passage using both the building metaphor and the imagery of the chief cornerstone from Psalm 118:22. Paul says, “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:11, NKJV) Jesus is our solid foundation, the chief cornerstone rejected by the builders, that we are to build our life and ministry on.

So with this in mind, I want to ask you, what are you building… and how are you building it?

First, are you building the right thing? Are you doing what God has called you to do? Not what you want to do or what people think you should do. Have you sought after God and His calling for your life?

Second, are you building it with a pure heart? Or do you approach God’s work with impure motives? Is your labor fueled by love or self? Is there a mixture? When it comes to our motives, according to the Scriptures, you have two options: you can have God reveal them to you NOW or THEN… but either way He’s gonna show you. The “Son of God, whose eyes are like flames of fire,” is “that One who searches out the thoughts and intentions of every person” and He says, “I will give to each of you whatever you deserve.” (Revelation 2:18,23 NLT) Now… or then. He will test each man’s work and see what it’s really made of. I don’t know about you, but I’m of the opinion it’s far better for Him to deal with me now!

May we all seek God, and ask Him these two very important questions:

  1. What have you called me to do, Lord? (the what)
  2. How do You want me to go about doing it? (the how, when, and where)

If we call upon God, He will answer. If we seek, He’ll show us the way we are to go! Don’t be discouraged, we all have stuff in our hearts that God needs to deal with. But, dear reader, be a person who seeks after God, bearing your heart before Him. Get real with Him, and He’ll surely not allow your feet to slip. He has enlarged a path for you—your life is divinely orchestrated by the Most High God. He’s more than able to finish the work He has started in you. Yes, He’s got it all planned out. Seek Him!

 

 

 

 

What is love?!

Silhouette Man Laser Show Light Jump Movement

The great 90’s poet, Haddaway, once cried out,

“What is love?!

Baby, don’t hurt me.

Don’t hurt me. No more.

What is love?!”

This poor man, hurting and distraught, was looking for answers. In his agony, he penned his lamentations to the melody of synthesizers and the thumping of a techno beat… Okay, I’m being funny. I don’t know if Haddaway would be considered a poet, but the dude asks a pretty profound question: what is love?

We hear the word tossed around all the time. From songs to movies to slogans to memes. We’re told we should love each other. We’re told to “live, laugh, love”. Others say to “eat, pray, love”. The Beatles told us that love is all we need. Well, we all know it’s important, but what is it exactly? What does it mean to love someone? Is it a certain feeling we should have? Is it some ethereal force that comes over us?

Through both study of the Bible and personal experience, my wife and I have tried to come up with a working definition:

Love is

selflessness,

guided by wisdom,

fueled by faith.

Love is a selflessness, guided by wisdom, fueled by faith.

Let’s break that down…

1. Selflessness: Ultimately, love is selflessness. Love thinks of others. Love is concerned about other people’s interests, not just it’s own. Go read the love passage in 1 Corinthians 13. “Love is patient, love is kind…” and so on. What’s the common theme to all these virtues listed? Selflessness. Love lets go of self. Love gives up its rights. Love forgives, while selfishness screams they hurt ME, and seeks to get even.

2. Guided by wisdom: Love is selflessness guided by wisdom. This is important! Because there’s a selflessness NOT guided by wisdom—it’s a people-pleasing kind of “love”; it’s a passive, pushover kind of “love”. This kind of love will eventually turn to resentment. Biblical love is grounded in wisdom. It is not out of balance. It gives what is right to give; not to the point of burn-out. Love understands boundaries and self-respect. Love doesn’t allow itself to be taken advantage of, but yet never grows resentful and is patient to all.

3. Fueled by faith: Love is fueled by faith. Or you could say, faith is the “how” behind love. How can I be truly selfless? If I am selfless, then what about me?! What about my needs?!

The truth is, we all have needs. We all have a “self” to worry about. This is not wrong. We should not be ashamed of ourselves, or our needs. But here’s the key: We give our “self” over to God. We entrust our “what about me?” to Him. By faith, we can be selfless, because we’re trusting God to take care of us. In this way, our love can be real, and not some martyrs complex. God knows we have needs. God knows we have wants. We can entrust our needs over to God.

When someone wrongs us, and our flesh screams “What about me?!”, how can we not be resentful? We allow God to be our defender, and trust him with handling our justice.

Love is selflessness, guided by wisdom, fueled by faith.