- Religion and Philosophy»
- Christianity, the Bible & Jesus
How Much Is Your Life Worth? (Part 2 What Does God Think Of Your Life?)
Although this article is part of a series, it is a Complete study on its own. (2 of 4 in series)
Do The Things You Do Have Value In God's Eyes?
"His lord said to him, "Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things. Enter into the joy of your lord." (Matthew 25:21)
Imagine God were to write a book about you about the life you led while on earth. With God as the author, this biography would be totally truthful, accurately written. What sort of story would it be? Imagine God had a library of such books. Would He gladly place the volume bearing your name in a place of honor? Or would it be on a shelf of short stories containing little of significance to Him? What message does your life send to a holy God? Do you even care what He thinks? Now, don't just dismiss the question out of hand. Do you care what He thinks? Exactly how do we live a life, that in God's eyes, is a life well lived?
God Is The One Who Created Us, Then Paid Our Sin Debt. He Sets The Standard. It is said of God that He is perfect, and therefore, "cannot deny Himself."
"If we endure, We shall also reign with Him, if we deny Him, He also will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself." (2 Timothy 2:12-13)
If a man made this statement all would think him egotistical, and rightfully so. Not so when the God of the Universe makes a statement of such magnitude. He is the ultimate authority, there is no higher. This is merely a statement of fact to Him. He is saying, "I have all knowledge, all power, and all authority. I am the Creator God. I rule - you don't." In the face of that, our opinion does not matter, if it is contrary to what the source of all knowledge and truth has revealed in His Word. He sets the standard to which we must measure up. He sets the standard.
He Sets The Standard For Worship. God has the right to expect worship. Get used to it. Jesus, who is God the Son, said to Lucifer, who is the most powerful being God ever created, "Away with you, Satan! For it is written, "You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve." (Matthew 4:10)
To have a life pleasing to Him, we must worship Him.
Search the Scriptures and you will find how to do that. The guideline is simple: Worship Him in "Spirit and in Truth." (John 4:24) Ways to express worship will vary from person to person and assembly to assembly, but to be worship, the guideline must be maintained.
To worship in Spirit is to be Holy Spirit led whether alone or in a church group. The worship must glorify the Lord above and not the worshipper. It will draw all attention to God, not to the worshipper.
To worship in Truth one must use the basis of all truth, God. He is the source of all we call truth. There is only one place where God has revealed Himself and that is the written Holy Word, the Bible. This is the sole rule of truth and practice. When we worship in Spirit and truth, God will see your worship and cherish it.
He Sets The Standard for Doctrine. The Bible also says that "it is impossible for God to lie." (Hebrews 6:18) He is the source of all truth, therefore, it is not what I think that should be taught as doctrine, nor what I feel, but what God thinks, what God has revealed about Himself that counts. It is God's thoughts that are revealed in His Holy Word. The Bible is complete doctrine. The attitude that God is looking for was displayed by a people of a place called Berea where they "searched the Scriptures daily, whether these things were so." (Acts 17:11) Once they found the correct doctrine, they followed the Apostle's advice and clung to it, letting all who preached any other doctrine "be accursed."
"But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed." (Galatians 1:8-9)
To have a life pleasing to the Lord we must cling to and live by pure doctrine.
He Sets The Standard For What Is Valuable In Eternity. The law of entropy exists in all of the universe. All things gradually get old and lose their value. Things rust, rot and wear out. Sometimes things are stolen from us or are taken in one way or another. No one will take their new car or a full wallet to heaven. So is there anything that will last forever? God says there is, and He sets the standard for value. God says for us to lay up treasures in heaven and this is a direct mandate from the Lord of the universe. But exactly what are the treasures we must "lay up?"
The first treasure we know about is tangled in the scarlet thread that runs throughout the Scripture. The scarlet thread is Jesus and His blood. His blood paid for the redemption of the souls of men. The souls of men are precious in the sight of God. We must "go into all the world" and "preach the gospel." When we obey that command we bring souls with us to heaven. We are credited with crowns because we obeyed and shared life with people who do not know Christ. The souls of men last forever and the crowns given for obedience are one of the treasures.
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:19-21)
Besides the souls of men, another thing we know to last forever are the words of God. God says "Heaven and earth shall pass away but my words shall not pass away." (Mark 13:31) We are to treasure the holy Bible. God says to read it, memorize it, write it on your walls, wear it on your person, all to engraft it in your heart. God says to value the written word.
The only other thing that lasts forever is the prayers of the saints saved in "bowls" in heaven. We spoke of this curious Scripture found in the book of Revelation in part one of this series. We already know from other Scriptures that we are accountable for every word that comes out of our mouths and every thought we think. Does it surprise anyone that God keeps track of all our prayers? It shouldn't but what always makes me smile is the notion that there is a bowl full of whatever prayer I have offered up to God sitting in heaven. I want each day to have a full measure of prayer in that bowl so it can be slopping over the top and spilling into heaven. I want God to have to call a plumber because of it all. I know that I am too much of a sinner to fill it that much but I can try to increase it every day.
"Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him that sat on the throne. Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints." (Revelation 5:7-8)
So the treasures we build in heaven are our prayers that God stores somehow in heaven, the way we value and obey the words of God, and the souls of men that are saved because of our witness. These are those things that will be around forever and the reason we will receive crowns as rewards. Our value system should be built around those things, around things God values. Our prayers should be without ceasing, our learning should be immersed in the words of God and in our ministry should be relentless to a lost and dying world.
To live a life pleasing to the Lord we must value what God values.
One must look past the World's glitz and false exterior to see what is at the center of God's heart. Then we must use God's scale to measure value. God wants every sinner won to Him so none go to hell. We need to do everything we can to make that happen. We know enough about our own hearts to know not everyone will come to Him, but we have to try. It pleases God.
A life that is pleasing and valuable to God is one that God can use to help others avoid the punishment of hell.
Follow The Standard God Has Set Up - And Not Your Own.
God has given us a mind and a reasoning ability that animals do not have. He invites us to reason things out with Him.
"Come now, let us reason together,' says the Lord, 'Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.'" (Isaiah 1:18)
What sinful man has a tendency to do is to eliminate God from his reasoning process. He sets up standards of thought, belief, and behavior that is fleshly and not of God at all.
To live a life pleasing to God we must not do what seems good in
our own eyes we but we must do what God wants us to do.
Build Treasures Not Just a feel good story to tell about our testimony..
In God's sight, what is the difference between treasures and testimony? We know that treasures involve actions accomplished here on earth. We know that God keeps account of these things until we go to heaven for our reward. God wants us to look at every good work that we do as belonging to one of two categories, one is temporal, the other is eternal. The way He illustrates the difference is to liken His scrutiny to a fiery judgment. The good works we do will either stand up in the face of God's judgment or will be "burned up," counted as nothing, consumed in the reality of heaven's eternity.
"For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, and straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved. yet so as through fire. Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are." (1Cor. 3:11-17)
Wood, Hay, Straw. This category of good works is partly how the World discerns that we indeed are Christians. We must do all things for God's glory. People of the World are watching our lives unfold before them. When we shovel our sidewalks, we do it for His glory. When we mow our lawns we do it for His glory. But in all reality maintaining a well-groomed lawn saves no one. Keeping a clean house will mean little when our life translates to heaven. Even when we do good for the poor and give food or aid, that by itself won't save anyone's eternal soul. A good testimony can afford us the opportunity to affect a change by sharing the Gospel. Relieving someone's suffering can afford us the opportunity to affect change by witnessing of Jesus. The reason for this type of good work is to create opportunities for giving the gospel, to give more people a chance at eternity with God.
To live a life pleasing to God we are doing right to have these temporal things for
a testimony before the World. But God wants us to know that this type of "good
work" is temporal and won't last forever.
Gold, Silver, Precious Stones. In contrast to a material like wood, hay, or straw - gold only gets purer when tried in the fire. The same is true of silver. Fire does not harm precious stones like diamonds, rubies or emeralds.
"The genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ." (1Peter 1:7)
The illustration shows that as God looks for value in your good works, these are the precious things that last forever. The souls of people you bring with you to heaven and the prayers you pray to Him out of a clean heart are the life's rewards you earn in the form of crowns. These things are forever.
To live a life pleasing to God have your mind set on eternal heavenly things
and building those eternal things in heaven.
Stand On The Promises Of God.
In His Book, He tells us how our attitude gladdens His heart. A person that stands on the promises of God feels joy in his heart. God rejoices and takes pleasure in the simple attitude that shows a person ready to trust God.
To live a life pleasing to God, learn to take Him at His word, to trust Him,
and to stand on His promises.
Be Ready For Witness. God enjoys it when we are lead by His Spirit to the lost and He enjoys seeing them get saved.
Be Ready For The Rapture. God enjoys the thoughts of an individual who keeps an excitement over Christ's prophesied imminent return in the sky.
Be Appreciative Of God's Conviction. God is moved with compassion when He knows that a person's heart is tender toward the Lord, ready to be convicted of sin. A broken and contrite heart is precious to Him.
Be Ready To Rejoice In Trials. God rejoices when He sees an individual trust that the trials of life are in God's control. Seeing that a person knows in their heart that God will never leave or forsake, when He sees them rejoicing in the small trials of this life, it makes God glad.
Be Ready To Be Thankful. God takes great pleasure in the individual that stops to say thank you. He takes double pleasure in someone who is thankful in all things, knowing that all things work to the good for the believer.
Looking inward we must consider our lives and ask ourselves: What Does God feel about the way I live my life. Don't think you can't know what He feels because God has clearly written what pleases Him in the Bible. When we write our life's message to our children we have to consider if our life has had any real value. Will our children say of you that your life honored God or that you only lived for yourself amassing things to you that served you and no one else? Will they feel you have left a spiritual legacy worthy to be carried on or does our life have no spiritual value to them? Most children, I'm afraid, spend their lives trying to do better than their parents, to do things differently than they did. A life of value is translated from generation to generation, with the next carrying on in the tradition of the old and not having to redo it.
In our first installment of this series, we looked at our own lives and pondered the purpose for our existence. We said that it is impossible to please God if we are not connected to Him. We stated this again in part two. It is impossible, no matter how good we try to be, to make God happy without doing the things He says have value. Let's review those three things. It makes God happy when someone shares how to know God personally. It makes God happy for a person to live out of His book, the Bible. It makes Him happy to hear the prayers of His children.
If you are not connected to God, you cannot bring anyone to Jesus because you've not come to Him yourself. If you are not connected to Jesus you cannot live out of the Bible because it is a book that is spiritually discerned and you need the Spirit of God to guide you into all truth. A person that has not come to the Lord and asked Him to save them does not have the Spirit which is given only after salvation. And lastly, a person who is not connected to God cannot pray because their sin separates them from God and He will not hear them. Indeed, the first prayer heard by God is one of calling out to Him.
"For whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:13)
"But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you that He will not hear." (Isaiah 59:2)
"Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth His will, him He heareth." (John 9:31)
Is it your wish to make God happy? Do you want your life to have value for an eternity? Then the first thing that needs to be done is to call out to God to save you. It isn't hard. You don't have to do a bunch of impossible tasks or go through torturous hazings. No, God makes it simple because it is based on belief and faith. You cannot call on Him in whom you do not believe. Do you believe that Jesus came to earth to die for all your sin? Do you believe that God put on human flesh and bled on a cross for you? If you do, then you are almost there. You must also know deep down that you are a sinner and you need to be saved. How else can you call on Someone to save you, unless you know you need Him. Lastly, you need to realize that living any way you want has brought you farther and farther from God not closer. You need to talk to God and tell Him that you are willing to turn from your way of living and follow Jesus as the only way of Salvation. Can you do that? You can if you believe these things. Pray this:
Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and I have lived the best I can, but I know that my best won't get me to heaven. I know that my sin will keep me separated from you. Lord please forgive me of my sin and save me. I believe that you came to earth to die for me and that you spent three days in the grave and rose for me. I turn from my sin Jesus and I promise to follow You all the rest of my life. You are the only way of salvation. I pray this in Jesus holy name. Amen.
Others in this series of independent articles: