Has it ever happened to you? You feel a sense of panic as you glance through the test questions. You know you’ve studied the material – but now, something is very, very wrong. You begin to muddle through the test and realize the “A” you were expecting is dimming and you will be fortunate to pull a “C”. When you get back to the dorm room and look at your assignment, that moment of realization hits you – you studied the wrong material. How frustrating is it to be judged not on effort but on content?
In 1 Cor 3:12-15 we see that there will be a final day of judgement and we will be judged on what we do in word, thought and deed. That’s probably something you already knew, right? Well, here’s the clincher. A lot of what we did – good things that took a lot of time and effort aren’t going to count. If we did them with a bad attitude or wrong motive it won’t count for anything – it will be just like you never did them. Ouch!
Matthew 6:1-6 talks about doing our works for God’s approval, not man’s. If we get approval from man, we have received our reward already. The thing is, we can’t judge each other, because we can’t see motives. Only God can do that. When we are worshiping at church are we just going through the motions or are we communing with God? Only you and God know.
Col. 3:23-24 again refers to what we do being for God and not man. Unless you’ve done the good deeds with a kind, willing heart it will burn up and count for nothing. Same goes for giving money, helping people – any ministry really. It’s not what we do that matters. And, if you think it is, unfortunately, you are studying the wrong material for the final exam.
When all is said and done, what matters it what was done with a right heart. You can’t grudgingly take your friend to her doctor’s appointment – that’s like paper and it won’t survive the fire. Nor can you complain as you leave for a ministry opportunity. If it’s not done in love, you might as well stay home and watch TV, because it isn’t going to survive the test.
Matthew 22:37 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” God looks deep inside us at our motives, our thoughts – the things no one here on earth can see. The final exam is coming – are you going to be ready for the test?
My favorite post so far! Analogies work for me, and the idea of “studying for the wrong exam” is something I can use when I talk to friends and when I consider my own time spent on this or that activity.
Thanks! We are just staring Pilgrim’s Progress – I think I”m getting hooked on analogies now….just wait ’til I start referring to my friends by their character qualities!
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