TRIED BY FIRE

When I first began my walk and work with the Lord, He kept me meditating in 1 Corinthians 3, as well as in the Sermon in the Mount.  I was very impressed by several things as I read and meditated in the Corinthian passage.

First of all, It became most evident to me that we do not all have the same assignments, field of service, roles, or responsibilities. And that it is God Himself that brings the increase (results).

Secondly, I understood that we must accept what we are assigned.  (This becomes our “lot”, as noted in Psalm 16.) Yet in light of that truth we must realize that we are not in a position to fully evaluate the significance of what He has called us to do.  We must ever be mindful that what matters to God is our obedience to the call, not necessarily our understanding.  The Bible tells us that “obedience is better than sacrifice”. (1 Samuel 15:22-23) Obedience, that emanates from a heart of love and gratitude, is what God is looking for. 

How important it is to rest in the knowledge that He is the potter and we are simply clay.  He reserves the right to fashion what He desires. In light of this reality, hopefully we see how utterly useless it is to compare ourselves or our work to others. How useless to think we are “something” or on the other hand to think that we are “nothing” of value.

Thirdly, Each assignment is to be carried out unto the glory of God, not grudgingly, and  to be empowered by the Holy Spirit.   Each of our smaller assignments, over the course our lifetime, will fit together forming a larger picture which turns out to be our “life assignment”.

And finally, one day our work will be tested by fire.  If our work goes through the fire and remains intact we will receive a reward from the Lord.

MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE:

During the very early years of ministry (in 1980) I was given a very clear instruction. Please note I would never, never, think that what I was told is what you were told or what you should be “doing”.  God deals with us uniquely, yet always within the parameters of the scriptures.

What the Lord told me was this:  “Do not set out to build an organization. Build people.” 

From my perspective and from my journey I have come to believe that as I have to the best of my ability kept to His instruction, I have in fact been participating  with Him in building His Kingdom.  (My part of the building process may look very different from your portion.)

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His Kingdom is made up of chosen people….people who are learning to co-rule and co-reign with Christ. He desires us to reign over our soulish realm and circumstances.  He desires us to be co-rulers in prayer on behalf of others.

Now let me share several nuggets from scripture in regard to  this “building”process

▪️Read 1 Pet 2:4 -5*  In this passage we are called living stones that are being built together into a spiritual house and priesthood acceptable to God.

▪️In Ephesians  2:22  we are told that we are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

▪️ 1 Corinthians 3:9-15  tells us that we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building, and that we are to build with precious materials not perishable ones

Read with care and prayer the entire passage from 1 Corinthians 3:

v. 10 according to the grace of God which was given to me as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. BUT LET EACH ONE TAKE HEED HOW HE BUILDS ON IT.

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v. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is Jesus Christ  (the chief cornerstone).

v.12 Now if anyone builds with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay straw, EACH ONE’S WORK WILL BECOME CLEAR; FOR THE DAY WILL DECLARE IT, BECAUSE IT WILL BE REVEALED BY FIRE;

THE FIRE WILL TEST EACH ONE’S WORK, OF WHAT SORT IT IS.

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v.14 IF ANYONE’S WORK WHICH HE HAS BUILT ON IT  (the foundation of Jesus Christ) ENDURES, HE WILL RECEIVE A REWARD.  

v. 15 IF ANYONE’S WORK IS BURNED, HE WILL SUFFER LOSS; BUT HE HIMSELF WILL BE SAVED, YET SO AS THROUGH FIRE.

Ask God to reveal to you what the gold, silver and precious metals represent.

Then reflect on what I believe the wood, hay and stubble represent.

▪️Perishable Works: our “good works”, our “good ideas”, our “flesh empowered” ministry/activity.

Wood = “fuel for fire” 

Hay = simply food for animals, stuffing for beds etc. very temporary

Stubble =  grass, sticks very temporary material

▪️Building with perishable goods – like a house built on sand, has no firm foundation, has a very temporary “life-span”.  Characteristics of the perishable:

  • more concern about temporal things/this life alone
  • live a life for our own self
  • seeking personal validation
  • seeking pleasure (without regard for the eternal)
  • seeking attention and applause
  • seeking power, position, greed
  • wrong words, deeds, attitudes, temporal “life-investments” (with no view of THE eternal)

▪️Time to ask: What  am I doing in relation to the people God has put in my life?  Am I directed and empowered by Holy Spirit?  Am I more concerned about the eternal than this temporary earth life?

These are matters of eternal significance and worth an investment of time to meditate under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  This life is so short.   It is vital for us to ask God if we are  truly building something that is eternal. What is built with gold, silver, and precious stones will come through the fire.  We will receive reward, ready or not.

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