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‘So then each of us shall give account of himself to God’
Before I start on this week’s article, I just want to encourage us to abide and strengthen ourselves in Him. I know that sometimes, the content of the articles and what it demands can be discomforting; not because the assertions are not true, but because it challenges us to take on more into a seemingly overcrowded life. But our discomfort itself might be a sign that there are things we need to work at.
So many times the messages I am instructed to share lay a burden on my spirit and I try to flee the pain the process that submitting to His will brings. The truth is that the burden of obedience is lighter, in the long run, to the one any alternative can offer.
The most important thing is for us to know, without a shadow of doubt that God will walk the road with us, from the beginning to the end. Running from His will is not the answer to evading the pain that might come with obedience. An experienced Christian once said that one of the secrets to finishing strong is to ‘hold on to Jesus’. No matter what we face, we must learn to hold on to Him. For if we hold on to Him, we will discover the truth in Romans 14: 4b – that God is indeed more than able to make us stand.
This week I share a word that highlights the need for us to live with eternity in sight; to be mindful of not allowing the burden that often comes with simple day to day living to restrict our view of life so narrowly that we lose sight of where this whole journey would end – eternity.
In Romans 14:12, Apostle Paul speaks of a day when we must all stand before the Lord to give an account of our lives. Hebrews 13:17, Matthew 12:36 and 2 Corinthians 5:10 also all speak of our having to account to God for decisions that we make in certain areas of our lives.
Perhaps one of the strongest teachings on this position is made by Jesus in His Parable of the Talent in Matthew 25:14-30 and in His letters to the seven churches in Revelations 2-3. In all of these, He calls on His disciples and the church situate in each of the cities to be mindful of the eternal consequences of their choices and decisions.
There have been arguments that the account before the judgement seat of Christ will bear no relevance to the lot of the Christian who, some claim, are eternally secure. It is true that no one will be saved because of their good works but rather because they, by faith, have received Jesus and appropriated the benefits of His atoning work and victory over sin and death.
While I crave your indulgence to leave dealing with this issue in detail for another day, I do not however believe that God’s purpose in calling for an account is a catch-up-time for all that transpired on our sojourn here.
I believe that one of the lessons in the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25 is responsibility in handling all that we have been given in a manner that allows us to give a good account of it all. Surely there are consequences to what we do with what we have been given. Jesus taught that while the diligent servants were each rewarded, the unprofitable servant was cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Of far greater importance though is that He likened His parable to the kingdom of heaven.
Also, the letters to the seven churches in Revelations 2-3 were written, not to unbelievers, but to the Church of Christ in each of the cities mentioned. To each of the churches, ~Jesus tells – ‘I know your works’. Of exceeding importance to us is that each was told that their decisions would determine if they stood to gain rewards or suffer losses, including the second death (Revelations 2:11).
It would seem to me that God would have us develop a lifestyle where we learn to take time to examine our ways with the intent that we acknowledge and strengthen what is good and acceptable to Him and turn away from the things that estrange us from His presence and will.
Knowing that we must give an account to God of our sojourn here should condition our hearts to be mindful of the decisions we take. More importantly, it should cause us to exercise restraint in taking decisions in cases we know we cannot genuinely vouch for the purity of our hearts or motives.
It should also encourage us to develop a lifestyle pattern where we take time off, perhaps at the end of each day, to look back at all the decisions we took that day, against the backdrop of ‘Can I stand unashamedly before Him to give an account of this decision?’
Waiting to stand before Him before we take stock of our lives, even as Christians, is neither advisable nor scriptural as Jesus Himself exhorts His own in Revelations 2-3 to take stock while here. The stock taking process will help us to confess, ask for and receive God’s mercy and actively seek His grace to repent of those things we know might provoke His wrath. Whatever we need to seek God’s mercy for must be done before the final curtain drops either in death or at the return of our Lord and Saviour.
In this, we allow the knowledge of our call to account to change how we handle each day and throw a defining perspective on the choices we make daily. Holiness is still a price that we must pay if we are to see God.
In taking stock, we must allow the Word and the Spirit to be our guide and avoid the Adamic sin in which we assume the ability, on our own, to decide right from wrong or good from evil. We must submit to being led by God’s Word and by His Spirit.
I pray for us all that may the Lord, who is our all and all and in whom alone we take refuge perfect all that concerns us, may He keep us standing and establish us in Him so that we are able to see Him face to face in eternal glory.
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