1 Corinthians 15:4 “Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.”
Finality….it speaks of the limits of life and the way it shapes how we act, plan, or determine how we invest our resources. What resources do we have that we have a measure of control over?
*The way we spend our free time
*Where we invest our money
*How we use the talents we’ve been given.
What we do now echoes into eternity.
Whether we invest our energy into pleasing ourselves, blessing others, or in worship, the contributions we make now will have ramifications both now and in the life to come.
There is a way to prepare for a future that inevitably concludes in a finite amount of time. How much time we have is not known, but what we do know is all that is important. Living with purpose ensures our efforts are not in vain.
How do we live with purpose so that we invest in what is valuable and move on from what is not?
The Word of God is the guide.
Proverbs 4:25-27 “Let your eyes look straight ahead,
And your eyelids look right before you.
Ponder the path of your feet,
And let all your ways be established.
Do not turn to the right or the left;
Remove your foot from evil.”
Whatever is important to the Lord must be elevated to our own level of importance. Whatever is ‘good’, is on par with God’s character of Holiness. Whatever is not good is deemed evil.
We can only know what this standard of goodness looks like by examining the Word of God.
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think on these things.”
Truth: the end of all Truth culminates in the Son of God. How do we know we are progressing along the correct path? Proverbs 4:18 “But the path of the just is like the shining sun, That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.” We know because the path of truth becomes brighter as we go. The revelation of God’s glory in us is progressive, from darkness—to light. The knowledge gained is fixated by the wisdom that is given. Apply wisdom correctly and you will see that all your path has been blessed.
Honor: Calvin Coolidge once said “No one was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” In the Kingdom of God, this rule applies as well. We receive love with the expectation that we give it away. The investment God makes into our lives is meant to be a testimony of the love of God as made evident through Jesus’ death on the cross. It is by His resurrection that life was renewed and Jesus will honor those who have honored Him.
Rightness: To be right before God is to be justified. Acts 13:39 “Through Him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.” If we dwell on rightness, we are considering our past position of guilt in sin, and our subsequent position of freedom; being justified by the grace that Jesus afforded us. To remember from whence we came is to keep a right perspective moving forward.
Purity: the greek term for purity is aphtharsia; meaning no-corruption (unable to experience deterioration); incorruptibility (not perishable). When we have been transformed by the power of God, we move from corruption to aphtharsia (incorruptibility). Sin corrupts, it destroys our relationship with God, it corrupts our flesh, and it ruins all of Creation around us. Remembering the purity that we have been anointed by is to see ourselves as God sees us. Moving on from our past and looking forward to who we are in Him. He is making us new again. Let Him do it!
Loveliness: to be made lovely is to become acceptable before the Father. A heart that has been soiled by sin is an abomination in His sight. Sin is an affront to God’s character. A sinful heart denies God’s Sovereignty and Holiness and elevates the pride of man before Him. When we have been purified, we become a fragrant aroma before His throne. Jesus makes us worthy to approach God and our lives become something that is worth celebrating, not the reproach it had been before.
Admiration: to be admired is to be well spoken of. You have a reputation that precedes you, one of honor and good report. It is only by walking in the Spirit can our nature be transformed from one of disgrace to one that is admired by God. Reflect godly character wherever you go and even the world will laude you for it. The ideals that God has ordained are universal in nature, they catre to all that is considered worthy of acclamation in this world of darkness. We honor the name of God when we live like He has ordained for us to live. We become a living testimony of His power and His faithfulness.
Excellence: is to be morally virtuous. The acceptance and adherence to God’s moral law is the very definition of an excellent one. We lose so much meaning in our society when everything is attributed value, regardless of the measure of sacrifice. It takes sacrifice to become obedient to God and yet when we do, the pleasure God has in our faithful conduct is made evident in our lives.
Praiseworthy: being commended for excellent service in God’s Kingdom is a reflection of the pleasure of God for excellence. It’s no wonder why Paul coupled excellence and praiseworthiness together…they go hand in hand. When the Spirit of heaviness falls upon your head because of God’s appreciation for your obedience, there simply is no greater reward on earth. It feels like you are briefly transported into God’s throne room and you get to taste for a moment of all that is to come. Worship begins to emanate from your being, a deep, contrite spirit of worship that wants to return the love that God is showing you.
This life can be difficult. I was just chatting with a brother at Set Free ministries about how difficult God’s testing can seem at the moment, especially if we are holding on to our pride. This pattern of reflection Paul was illustrating in the Philippians letter is meant to bring perspective in times such as these.
The Lord knows our vulnerabilities, He knows how weak we can become and when we stumble, we can likewise become defeated by our sense of frustration. We want to live rightly, we want to honor the Lord in all we do and yet the battle can wear on for so long.
Stop…..consider…..remember His goodness.
Remember all that God has brought you from.
Remember all that God has done in you already.
The road can seem long, but it can also be joyous.
James 1:12 “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.”
All roads come to an end. If you are walking on God’s road, the ending will be worth the journey. Just remember, it’s not far off, just around the next bend we have a glorious city awaiting us.
Until then….hold on.