Endures the Fire

Matthew 16:27For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.

1 Cor. 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.

1 Peter 1:7 These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

1 Cor. 3:12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.

I write this blog with a nudging and conviction in my heart. A few days ago I was contacted by a student that I poured into a few years ago. It was so good to hear how she was still serving the Lord and putting the will of God as a priority in her life. It's reassuring to hear that you had something to do with someone serving God, even if you know it was just one small seed. After speaking with her I couldn't help but begin to think about all the other students that I had reached out to during that time in Lubbock. As I did an inventory this young lady is in the minority, most of those students are not still serving God today. This morning our children's church leader got up to speak for a few minutes and she read a statistic... 50% of young adults who graduate high school serving God will not graduate college still serving God. That means that according to "statistics" half of our youth groups (considering that every student in your youth group) will stop serving God as they enter into their early twenties.

When I went off to Tech I was full of passion and zeal for God. I immersed myself in my 3 1/2 years in MANY MANY ministries. I participated on leadership teams, led small groups, preached, did missions, led a youth group, helped in a church plant, went on retreats, interned at a church, mentored, discipled, helped lead 24 hour prayer services, did an internship with the local house of prayer, read lots of books, listened to lots of sermons, evangelized, did outreaches, served in soup kitchens, ministered to the poor and homeless, was a counselor at a camp, etc.  hours and hours and hours were spent "doing good works". The truth is the majority of you all reading this today could start a similar list and exhaust yourself just trying to categorize all of the good things you have done.

This is the harsh truth penetrating me today. I'll describe it in the form of a question. Of all of "good things" I have done, how much of it will endure through the testing of fire?

I want to stand before God knowing that I lived my life doing things that would be pleasing to Him. I want to know that I'm doing things daily that produce LASTING FRUIT. I want to have faith and works that endure through the fire.

What will endure the fire? Two things immediately pop into my mind, first being love, second being faith. I know that I could do a million good works, but if I don't have love they are nothing to the Lord (1 Cor. 13:1-7). I know that it is faith that is pleasing to Him (Hebrews 11:6) and that whatever is not done in faith is sin (Romans 14:23) so obviously it is required that my works be done in faith to be found acceptable to Him. The two other things that come to mind is that the works must be led by the Spirit and that I must give Him the glory for anything that is accomplished. We know Zech 4:6, not by power, not by might, but by the Spirit. Anything done in my own strength will not prove to be lasting and enduring fruit. I can honestly say I've seen that prove to be true over and over again, however whatever is done in Him is unshakeable. Finally, I love Matthew 5:16 that says for us to do things in such a way that when people see our "good works" they will glorify the Father. Do all things for His glory and not for our own glory. That's one reason that I strongly believe that the majority of your "good works" should be done IN SECRET!!! There should be tons of good works that I've done, you've done, we do, that NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT!!! And for the many things that we'll do that are seen we should always be sure that we and others give God the glory. We may plant, we may water, but God gives the increase.

I'm searching my heart today, to examine and reflect on my "works". As a youth pastor, as a friend, as a daughter, as a bible study leader, as a young woman, as a mentor, as a mentored, in all that I "do" and in all that I am I want to do "good works" that will prove to be lasting. I want to do works that when tested with fire will endure, so that like 1 Cor. 4:5 I can receive praise from God. Oh how I long to hear Him say, "well done, you've served me well, you had a pure heart, you produced lasting fruit, you loved deeply, you trusted me, you had faith, you listened to my Spirit, you've ran the race, you've done well my daughter".

God will not just look at the deeds that were done, but He will look at the heart behind them. He will look at my motives. He will look at my love. He will look at my faith. He will look to see if I did things out of obedience. He will know if I tried to do things on my own or by His Spirit. He will know if I gave Him the glory not only with my mouth, but in my heart.

Let's do works that will endure the fire. These works will be pleasing to Him. These works will produce lasting fruit. These works will show the world the heart of the Father and bring about the revival and change we so desperately long for.

Be Blessed, J. Tate