Friday, February 18, 2011


TODAY'S SPECIAL: 1 Corinthians 3:10-23

TO CHEW ON: "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." 1 Corinthians 3:12-13

Who of us hasn't seen video clips on the evening news of people sifting through the charred remains and ashes of their burned homes? Each time I am chilled by their, "This was all I had. My whole life was here. I lost it all."

That's the scene these verses from 1 Corinthians bring to mind. And I just know I don't want that to be me on "the Day" (of Jesus' return). I'm sure you feel the same way. So how do we avoid this? How do we leave a life-legacy that doesn't go up in flames?

As I view the rubble of the scene, I think of the warning Jesus gave:
"Don't 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" Matthew 6:20.

Expending our efforts on things that last beyond this life, pouring ourselves out for the well-being of peoples' souls instead of amassing physical stuff and building monuments to ourselves is certainly one aspect of this.

But it seems that Paul is talking about more. The implication is that these people are all busy in spiritual work, building on Jesus, the right foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11). We can conclude that even in that there is a right and wrong way to build, a way to build with lasting materials or flammable ones.

Read any book describing cults and you will, I think, be struck by how many start with Jesus. He is part of their foundation. But somewhere their leaders and/or followers have used other materials than the Word of God, or stressed one part of the Bible ignoring other parts, or compromised in their lifestyles necessitating rationalization with its accompanying potential for false teaching.

A footnote in my Bible says about these building materials:

"To build on the foundation a building of durable material (gold, silver, precious stones) is to teach sound doctrine and live a life of fidelity to the truth, thus leading converts to spiritual maturity. To build with perishable material (wood, hay, straw) is to provide inadequate or unsound teaching or to compromise the truth by demonstrating a lifestyle that contradicts or fails to model it" - New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1583.

So how do we make sure we "teach sound doctrine and live a life of fidelity to the truth"? I would submit it's by getting very familiar with the building supply depot — the Bible (all of it, not just the red-letter parts, or the gospels, or the epistles, or the Psalms...) and by giving the Holy Spirit permission to apply it to our lives, even when it wreaks a little havoc with our current building projects.

PRAYER: Dear God, I don't want to stand before You someday next to a pile of smoking rubble, having accomplished nothing that lasts. Help me live my life with today's warning in mind. Amen.

MORE: Learning about world religions

There are thousands of belief systems in the world, hundreds of which name Jesus as part of their foundation. One book that helps the layperson through this maze is James Beverley's Nelson's Illustrated Guide to Religions: A Comprehensive Introduction. A part of the book that makes it useful is Beverley's evaluation of how each belief systems relates to Christian orthodoxy. This book would be a valuable addition to any home library.

(My July 2009 review of Nelson's Illustrated Guild to Religions is here).

Bible Drive-Thru

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