Some Thoughts…

As I continue to process the decisions of the Lord in my life lately, it is important to me to constantly be looking toward Scripture.

First, I have found a lot of comfort in the principle that Paul teaches concerning himself,

“Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy. But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord. Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.” (1 Corinthians 4:1–5, NASB95)

Paul is speaking of himself here in that no man is acquitted because he believes himself to be without fault. Just because we don’t see our sin does not mean that it is not there. Think about it, if I were deceived, I would not know it. Otherwise, I would not be deceived. But, in the last day at the throne of Christ, Jesus Christ will examine the motives and thoughts of every believer and reward accordingly. That is a fearful thing, and that fear should motivate us to be honest-with ourselves and others.

Jesus spoke of this very reality in Matthew 10:26,

“Therefore do not fear them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.” (Matthew 10:26, NASB95)

The hidden motives and motivations of the hearts of men (myself included), that we believe no one will ever find out, will be ‘aired’ at Christ’s throne. The hidden things will be made known. The secret things will no longer be a secret. We will enter into Christ’s eternal kingdom having all things revealed. In one sense, that is refreshing since it means a fresh start. In another sense, it is terrifying because we can so easily deceive ourselves. This is why we should deal with sin within ourselves immediately and swiftly, so that we might be a praise and honor to Christ in that day, and not an embarrassment.

Second, do not leave the pursuit of Christ in order to “spin your mental wheels” in worry. Paul as much said that in Philippians,

“But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:7–14, NASB95)

Paul, a better man than I will ever be, says that all things (including self-merit) is like rubbish as compared to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. This knowledge leads to a righteousness based on faith and not works. That righteousness further causes us to know the death and resurrection of Christ in a personal way so that we might fellowship with His sufferings, for righteousness’ sakes. The perfection of resurrection is elusive and moves ahead of you and you must chase after it. That is why we press toward that goal-the conformity to the likeness of Jesus Christ (cf. Romans 8:28-30). In that pursuit, there are lines drawn and decisions made. Some good some not so good. I have heard it said that a wise leader is good at making “second decisions.” That is true. In the pursuit of the righteousness of Jesus Christ we shred off those things in our lives that are dead weight and run with endurance that race set before us. And, again, in the end, only Jesus Christ, the righteous Judge, will know the true motives of our hearts. Thus, when worry, a very heavy weight for most of us, drags us down, realize that anxiety is not teaching us a thing about Jesus Christ. Therefore, it has to go. I would guess that Jesus never spent a second in worry. He never apologized for what He said, but at strategic times He was silent. He truly is the Perfect Man (James 3:1-12).

Lastly, I must be more concerned for the glory of the Lord than my own glory. No man can serve two masters. Loving one will pit me against the other. If I love my own glory, I will not desire Christ’s. Jesus taught this in John,

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. “I do not receive glory from men; but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves. “I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?” (John 5:39–44, NASB95)

Oh how I wish I were surrounded by men zealous for the glory of the Father! I would guess that would eliminate so much sin and mediocrity. It would only introduce other things that need to be dealt with, but there is so much grace in pursuing the glory of God in everything (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:31). Also, seeking for the kingdom of Christ first does generate animosity in those who do not. There needs to be so much grace toward them and yet a resolution to still pursue that very righteousness that brings conflict.

“Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong. For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;” (1 Peter 3:13–18, NASB95)

Prior to this passage, Peter teaches that those who would love righteousness should not speak evil of others, but rather seek peace. God is always opposed to those who do evil. That is not so hard to do if you consider the above point that everything you say and think will be divulged before Christ. The best pursuit of righteousness includes receiving the kiss of Judas or the friendship of Ahithophel (1 Samuel 15:12-31; cf. Psalm 55:12-14) without malice. Thus, when you pursue righteousness, this may lead to suffering for doing what is right in the eyes of God. Thus, the Lordship of Christ (1 Peter 3:15) drives you since you understand that He is judge and law-giver in His kingdom.