And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming (1 John 2:28).
Two classes of believers will stand before Jesus when He returns; the confident, and the ashamed.
The confident are those who loved not their lives to the death. They resisted the strong desires of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. They kept the world at a distance by immersing themselves daily in the Word of God, and by constant communion with the Father. When they did slip up and sin, it broke their hearts and they cried out to Jesus, confessing their sin, and asking for His power to overcome the weakness and to walk in the spirit.
The confident did their work as if they were working for Jesus Himself, giving their best in whatever they were doing. The confident practiced putting themselves last and others first. They chose to love people who criticized and persecuted them for their stand on spiritual values. They chose to love those treated them badly. They spent time regularly volunteering in outreaches in their community, in their local church. They gave money to world missions organizations and other ministries that take the gospel to people in their community and other parts of the world. They willingly give their tithes to the Lord in their local church to support the advancement of the kingdom of God in their community.
The ashamed are those who were born again, but did not take advantage of their rights and privileges as a child of God. They did not have a routine of spending time with the Word of God so that it could change their thoughts, attitudes, and personal habits. The distractions of life around them, the desire to acquire lots of money and things, and the desire for things important in the culture around them, overpowered their desire for God, and they mostly lived to please themselves at the expense of pleasing God.
With the ashamed, attending services at a church where the Word of God is taught was hit and miss. Relaxation and recreation were more important than hearing the spoken Word of God through the ministry gift of a pastor/teacher. They did not understand or walk in the concept that we as christians make up the body of Christ, and that together we can impact our culture in a way that we never could alone. They did not comprehend that fact that each part has a vital role in the health of the body of Christ.
The ashamed rarely volunteered their time to help others in local outreaches through their church or other organizations. Because most of their life focus was on themselves and the need to chill, they rarely gave their money in tithes and offerings to advance God’s kingdom locally and worldwide. Instead, they invested time and money in things that helped them relax and get their minds off of their busy lifestyle to the disregard of God and His kingdom.
For the ashamed, a guilty conscience was their constant companion. They knew what to do but rarely did it. They were saved so as through fire (1 Corinthians 3:15).
Jesus blazing eyes will look into yours and mine one day. He will look deep into our souls with His piercing gaze and immediately discern the thoughts and motives behind every word and action in our lives after salvation!
General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army had a vision of the rewards seat of Christ (1 Corinthians 3). He saw multitudes of believers who had arrived in heaven, and Jesus was there, going from person to person. In His hand was a torch. As Jesus approached each person, the flame from the torch would immediately consume all wood, hay, and stubble their earthly lives had produced (1 Corinthians 3:12). All that was left was gold, silver, and precious stones.
Some people touched by the torch had nothing left when the smoke cleared. No precious jewels were found. Others had a pile of beautiful gems at their feet after the fire.
One other notable thing happened in General Booth’s vision. As Jesus approached each person, He heard either guttural sobs of remorse for opportunities not taken, or he heard ecstatic shouts of joy from those who had daily consecrated to do His will while on earth.
A hymn sang in my church as a boy went; must I go and empty handed, must I meet my Savior so, must I go and empty handed, must I empty handed go. We are each day accruing by our actions and motives either gold, silver, precious stones, or wood hay and straw. What will be left at your feet to present to Jesus when the smoke clears?
I want to be in the company of the confident and not be one of the ashamed when I meet Jesus. Come with me on the journey for God’s best today. Let’s consecrate ourselves to the Father. Let’s be the good ground believers found in Mark 4 who acted on the Word with all their hearts.
Forget the failures of the past. Reach forward today in repentance and consecration and let’s go for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ. Let’s purpose to be one of the confident ones when Jesus returns!