The Fire Test

fireSome days I get overwhelmed with all that I want to accomplish. I want to love my children well, make dinner, keep a clean house, encourage others, pray instead of worry, and be used by God to spread His message of hope.  The reality is – laundry is spilling over on my living room floor from children rooting through baskets because I’m so behind.  Please don’t look in my bathrooms as they desperately need a good cleaning, and yesterday I kinda felt “blah” and didn’t feel like taking the time to get on my face and pray.  I called out a few crisis prayers – “help me Lord” but just stumbled through my day doing whatever hit me first.

The list of good things to do with our time is neverending:

  • volunteer at schools and church
  • work to help support our families
  • read and study to enrich our minds
  • exercise to take care of the bodies God has given us
  • serve and encourage others who are going through difficult times
  • get to know our neighbors
  • spend time with friends
  • pray and listen to God
  • write in a journal to process emotions
  • go through the calendar to plan the family schedule
  • spend time with your spouse to keep your marriage healthy
  • all the household tasks just to keep chaos at bay

I can never keep all these balls spinning no matter how hard I try.  Which ones should I let drop at which times? What really matters?  At the end of our lives, what work will we wish we hadn’t neglected?  How can we know what that is?

This morning I read these verses in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15

Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ. Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value.  If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.

Paul says we must be very careful that our foundation is Jesus.  As we come to Him and ask what we should prioritize, we then build on that foundation.  He says some of our works of gold, silver, and jewels will survive the fire and we’ll receive a reward.  He says other works of wood, hay, and straw will burn up and we’ll suffer great loss.

As I think of what will survive the fire, I think of the only two things that will last forever:

  • People  – loving, encouraging, forgiving, teaching, empowering them with Christ’s love
  • God’s Word – it is eternal.  As we study it, teach it, meditate on it…. we get to know God better so that we discern which work will truly make it through the fire test

Today I’m asking God to help me build on His foundation. I’m praying he’d show me how I can use my time, talent, and treasure today in a way that will honor Him and not just burn up as temporary or trivial.

Two sure ways to destroy a building are to use a bad foundation and inferior materials.  What foundation are you building on? What type of materials are you using to build to your life through your use of time, the focus of your thought life, your commitment to prayer and God’s Word, and then your obedience to the voice of God’s Spirit to spend your time and effort on things that will matter not just in this life – but the next?

Today, I’m asking God to show me how to build my life with materials that will pass the fire test.  I hope you’ll join me.

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