Yesterday morning, I was brushing my teeth when I was hit with a spiritual revelation.
That’s right, a spiritual revelation struck me right in the gut while I was groggily brushing my teeth in the not-so-wee hours of the morning.
As I moved my toothbrush up and down and back and forth, I was remembering that my dentist had told me to do a better job getting the very backs of my back teeth clean. In fact, at my last appointment, she had even scraped some kind of black something off of them. (I promise, this gets better.) This embarrassing flashback naturally prompted me to scold myself for being a bit lax lately with those back teeth. I have a dentist appointment in October, I reminded myself, and I need to focus on good brushing now to make sure that I don’t have any cavities then!
That’s when it hit me. The spiritual revelation.
Not only do I have a dentist appointment to prepare for, I have an appointment at the end of my life on Earth to stand before the Holy God and answer for what I have done with my life. I am willing to prepare for the dentist and other small goals in my life, but how focused am I on preparing for that far more important moment in my future?
The Wicket Gate is all about applying the Bible to our lives and this idea really encapsulates all of that. As much as we, deep down, want our lives to be about our comfort and happiness and goals, God has told us that He has a much greater purpose for us, which He showed us in His Word. Those commands and the choices we make based on them are serious.
2 Corinthians 5:10 says:
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”
Every word, every thought, every action matters. Someday I am going to stand before God in Heaven, in all of His glory, and He is going to ask me why I didn’t witness to the girl next to me on the bus. He is going to ask me why I gossiped about that neighbor. He is going to ask me why I complained about washing dishes or doing homework. And I will feel so. much. shame. Because I will know that in those moments, I was living entirely selfishly, not trusting God’s direction, and not living for Him.
But all of this brings me back to what I must always come back to: Jesus. Somehow, despite all of those mistakes, all of those deliberate choices to sin, I will still be allowed into Heaven because of Jesus.
Ephesians 1:14 and 15 say:
“In Him [Jesus] you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”
In other words, when I accepted that Jesus was my Savior, admitting that I was a sinner in need of His grace, I was given the Holy Spirit and He is the guarantee that I have been redeemed. Because of Jesus, I am guaranteed entrance into Heaven where I will live with God for eternity.
But that doesn’t mean that I’m off the hook. 1 Corinthians 3:11-14 says:
“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, 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 which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”
In other words, if we have accepted Jesus as our Savior, then we have a foundation. There is no other foundation that can be laid, and without it, we have nothing. But once we have that foundation, we are given the chance to build on it with what we do with ourselves. Some of the things we do are just selfish junk and will be completely burned away when we stand at the judgment seat. Some of what we do might look really good, but still be burned because of selfish or insincere motives. But then there will be the things that are like gold and precious jewels. Those are the things we have done that are actually worthwhile, the things done for the glory of God and done in obedience to Him. Those things are the only things of any real and true value, and it is those things that our gracious God will actually reward us for.
I don’t know about you, but when I look at my life and the jumble that I am piling together to someday present to my God, I see a lot of wood, hay, and straw. It is sad that I have wasted so much time and effort. That’s why, every day, as I look forward to that judgment seat, I need to be sure that I am adding the gold, silver, and precious stones that God asks for.
Is what I am doing good? I should ask myself. Is it God-honoring? Is it sincere? God cares about those things, even in the little things, so we should “make it our aim,” as Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:9, “to be well pleasing to Him.”