“If I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not love (that reasoning, interventional, spiritual devotion such as is inspired by God’s love for and in us), I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God’s love in me) I am nothing (a useless nobody). Even if I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned or in order that I may glory, but have not love (God’s love in me), I gain nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 AMPC)
“But if anyone builds upon the Foundation, whether it be with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble, the work of each [one] will become [plainly, openly] known (shown for what it is); for the day of Christ will disclose and declare it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test and critically appraise the character and worth of the work each person has done. If the work which any person has built on this Foundation [any product of his efforts whatever] survives [this test], he will get his reward. But if any person’s work is burned up [under the test], he will suffer the loss [of it all, losing his reward], though he himself will be saved, but only as [one who has passed] through the fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:12-15 AMPC)
“Therefore I counsel you to purchase from Me gold refined and tested by fire, that you may be (truly) wealthy, and white clothes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nudity from being seen, and salve to put on your eyes, that you may see. Those whom I [tenderly and dearly] love, I tell their faults and convict and convince and reprove and chasten [I discipline and instruct them]. So be enthusiastic and in earnest and burning with zeal and repent [changing your mind and attitude].” (Revelation 3:18-19 AMPC)
“For we must all appear and be revealed as we are before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive [his pay] according to what he has done in the body, whether good or evil [considering what his purpose and motive have been, and what he has achieved, been busy with, and given himself and his attention to accomplishing]. Therefore, being conscious of fearing the Lord with respect and reverence, we seek to win people over [to persuade them]. But what sort of persons we are is plainly recognized and thoroughly understood by God, and I hope that it is plainly recognized and thoroughly understood also by your consciences (your inborn discernment).” (2 Corinthians 5:10-11) AMPC
“Look to yourselves (take care) that you may not lose (throw away or destroy) all that we and you have labored for, but that you may [persevere until you] win and receive back a perfect reward [in full].” (2 John 8 AMPC)
God has a plan and purpose for every human being. Some people fulfill His plans and others don’t. This is a message to those who are in the process of fulfilling His plan for their life. I’m talking to Christ-followers who claim Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and have surrendered their lives to His Lordship and are following Him, His teachings, and His ways. This narrows down the audience quite a bit, but it’s important to consider this message.
As Christ-followers, each one of us has a certain “work” or “ministry” or “assignment” we are to complete that will finish our race. For the Apostle Paul, he was to establish the gentile church around the world, or at least the known world at that time. He did complete his race. Jesus Christ, our Lord, and Savior completed His work when He cried “It is finished” on the cross. He plainly told us to “take up our cross and follow Him.” We must deny ourselves and take on His character to display to the world around us so that the lost will see the Savior in us–in our words and our actions.
After our surrender to Jesus, as we seek Him for our assignment, He will give it to us at the appointed time. Sometimes we don’t come into it for years. Rather we are in training to prepare us for the assignment. Wherever we are in this process, we need to be faithful to it. It is in the preparation phase of our walk with Jesus, that we learn how to operate in the Agape love of God as laid out in 1 Corinthians 13 and also in 1, 2, and 3 John. The new covenant that Jesus instituted for His Church has only two commandments. The first is to love God with all our hearts, mind, and strength, and the second is to love our neighbors as ourselves. This is the foundation of what I call “the love walk” that every Christ-follower must establish as the foundation of their Christianity. Without it, everything we do is futile, a noisy gong, fruitless, useless, and of no value.
You can go on any social media site and see the shocking lack of agape love displayed by Christians against other Christians. All kinds of bullying and vitriol as well as even a form of cancel culture one towards another. These things should not be named among the brethren. I have to confess that I have been guilty of these very things. Getting offended over a difference of opinion, unfriending over stupid things. But something changed in my life this year. I began a deep search and examination of my heart. I gave Jesus the master keys to all the rooms in my heart and what He uncovered was hard to take. My love walk wasn’t good. I needed an overhaul. I made the decision to settle all accounts with God before the start of the new year. As I began this process, He brought to my attention different people that were offended at me or that I had hurt in some way. It was hard but I reached out to them and tried to make peace because the Bible says that we should try and make peace with those we know are offended at us, if at all possible.
I reached out to the first one and they responded and forgave me and our fellowship is now restored. I reached out to the next one and so far I have not received a response. I re-sent friend requests, which one was deleted and the others aren’t that active so they probably haven’t seen it. The last thing God asked me to do was to send Christmas cards and bless the ministries with a small offering. The one received it and was thankful and gracious, the other I haven’t heard from yet. Why am I saying this? I’m saying that at some point we have to swallow our pride and try to make peace with other believers because the love walk is that important to God. It doesn’t matter if they respond or not. We are responsible to obey the law of love.
As I was pondering on all this, I thought about the Judgment Seat of Christ at which we must all stand and give an account of not only our actions but our words as well. That is a very sobering thought to me! I want Jesus to say to me “well done, good and faithful servant.” I don’t want to stand ashamed because my rewards were burnt up as wood, hay, and stubble because I didn’t stay in the agape love of God towards other Christians. Likewise, I don’t want anyone else to miss out on anything the Lord has for them because their love walk is out of wack!
Think about the work or ministry you are doing for God. All the hours of labor and prayer you put into it. The energy, the money, and time; are all to advance God’s kingdom. Imagine standing before the judgment seat of Christ and your books are opened and your words and actions are judged for good or evil. If you didn’t operate in the agape love of God, then ALL your hard work is futile. It’s nothing. It will be burned up as so much wood, hay, and stubble. You are saved, and you will live in eternity, but you’ll lose the rewards God had wanted to give you because you failed to walk in God’s love toward your neighbor.
What does this entail? Holding grudges, refusing to forgive even after an apology was issued, refusing to forgive wrongs, judging others because their theology is different, the list could go on and on. Some of these may even keep you out of the kingdom.
The message is this: make the decision now to get with God about the state of your heart towards Him and towards your neighbor. Don’t wait or ignore it. Time is short and once you leave this earth, your books are closed and completed. The things that aren’t under the Blood of Jesus WILL BE JUDGED.
Remember, the blood of Jesus Christ completely eradicates our sins. We must repent of lovelessness as well as all other sins. I know a lot of people say that grace covers it so we don’t have to worry about it. I disagree. When we are born again our sinful nature is changed and we become a new creature, but I don’t know anyone who gets born-again and never sins in words, thoughts, or actions for the rest of their lives! I’d like to meet him or her and find out how they do it. Repentance is what it means to keep short accounts with God. It’s what it means to examine our hearts for sinful attitudes and motives. Keeping short accounts with God is crucial at this time. We should make every effort to examine our hearts every day to see how our ways are aligned with His. Lack of love is not allowed in the Kingdom of God. It’s that simple. What sets Christians apart from the world is this: “they shall know we are Christians because of our love one for another.” If we can’t love one another, then what good is our faith? 1 Corinthians says “we are useless nobodies.”
I resisted God in doing this blog post because it’s not warm and fuzzy. It’s not a feel-good message. But I have a fire shut up in my bones about it and I have to get it out, so I’m willing to let the chips fall where they may. I may get bullied, or canceled but I’d rather that than hear Jesus’ question why I didn’t give the message He told me to give. Somebody, somewhere will take this and change their lives. That’s all that matters…