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 often shapes how we act, plan, or determine how we invest our resources. When it comes to our resources, how can we know what we truly have a measure of control over?
*The way we spend our free time? Where we invest resources? How we use the talents we’ve been given? Or the measure we walk in obedience to the Lord can either have meaning and purpose or be used for selfish gain.
What we do now echoes into eternity.
Whether we invest our energy into pleasing ourselves, blessing others, or in worship to God, the eternal investments we make in life will have ramifications both now and in the life to come.
There is a way we can prepare for a future that inevitably concludes in the time we are alloted. How much time we have is not known, but what we do know is what God values. Living with a purpose that honors God and not ourselves ensures our efforts are not in vain.
How do we invest in what is valuable and move on from what is not?
The Word of God is our 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 brought into alignment with our own measure of importance. Whatever is ‘good’, is on par with God’s character of Holiness. Whatever is not good is deemed evil.
God’s goodness is a revelation of His perfection. God’s people have been commended to strive for perfection and that pattern is shown by aligning our minds and hearts toward God’s nature.
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.”
All of these attributes have to be understood practically so they can be lived out experientially.
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 fixed by the wisdom that is given. Apply wisdom correctly and you will see that all your paths have 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 God’s love made evident through Jesus’ death on the cross. It is by His resurrection that our lives have been redeemed 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 what is right, we take into consideration our past position of guilt in sin, and our subsequent position of freedom in Christ; being justified by the grace that Jesus afforded us. To remember from where 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. God’s sanctifying power leads His people in purity.
Loveliness: to be made lovely is to become acceptable before the Father. A heart that steeped in sin is an abomination before God. 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 acclaim 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 excellence. We lose so much meaning when everything is given great value, regardless of the measure of sacrifice. It takes sacrifice to become obedient to God and when we do, the pleasure God has in our faithful conduct is made evident through our lives.
Praiseworthy: Being commended for excellent service in God’s Kingdom reflects the pleasure of God for obedience. It’s no wonder why Paul coupled excellence and praiseworthiness together…they go hand in hand. If you notice God’s appreciation in your life, there simply is no greater reward on earth. Knowing God is pleased is like being transported into God’s throne room and tasting for a moment of all that is to come. Worship arises with a heart of thanksgiving, a deep, contrite spirit of worship that wants to return the love that God is revealing.
Life can be difficult. I was once talking with a brother about how difficult God’s testing can seem at the moment, especially if we are holding onto our pride. The pattern of reflection Paul was illustrating in the Philippians letter is meant to bring perspective in times such as these.
Philippians 1:3-6 “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
The Lord knows our vulnerabilities, He knows how weak we can become and when we stumble, we can likewise become defeated and frustrated. If we really want to live rightly, we will strive to honor the Lord in all we do and yet the battle can make us weary—When it does, Stop…..consider God’s plan…..and remember His goodness.
Remember all that God has brought you through.
Remember all that God has promised and all that He will do.
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 path the end is just the beginning—it will be worth the journey. Just remember, it’s not far off, just around the next bend and then we will have a glorious city awaiting for those who have been found faithful.
Until then….hold on.