“Then He (the Lord) commissioned Joshua the son of Nun, and said, ‘Be strong and courageous, for you shall bring the sons of Israel into the land which I swore to them, and I will be with you’” ~ Deuteronomy 31:23, (authors note).
We are called and equipped, Beloved, to be strong and courageous in life, being as God is, living as Jesus lived – in the world but not of it, so others may come to know Him for themselves and find His promises for life. Jesus said…
“If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself (his fleshly lusts, worldly desires, and ungodly demands), and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life (by denying self and the desire to be in control above even God) for My sake, he is the one who will save it” ~ Luke 9:23-24 (Authors note).
When we choose to live as God desires, walk in obedience to Father as Jesus did, and live as His Eternal Kingdom People in the midst of a world that denies Him, it will be difficult for us to do. Just as Jesus sweat blood before taking up His cross, there are times when we will feel we are doing the same (Hebrews 12:4). Here is the upside, Beloved one. Following the will of God even when we have to bear the cross of going against cultural norms and beliefs, sometimes even standing as if alone in order to obey Father and do His bidding, that cross bearing produces eternal fruit with great reward.
Every time we do right before God, though it puts us in difficult situations where we are, we add gold, silver and precious stones to our immortal structure that will not burn away as we enter His presence on the day of Bema seat (the judgment of the works of those who are God’s through Christ) (1 Corinthians 3:10-15). Accomplishing this in a society that promotes self (self-centeredness, self-reliance, self-fulfillment) will require faith in God, hope for eternity, and love, “and the greatest of these is love” ~ 1 Corinthians 13.
We are called as God’s people to love: loving Him first and foremost, above all else and with all that we are. We are called to love Him and others as He loves us, and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. The question is, “How does He love us?” I believe the answer to that is best revealed through 1 John 3-4, especially chapter 4, verses 7-8:
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, FOR GOD IS LOVE.”
God is love, and that is the goal for our love-walk, to learn of Him so that we may be love as He is love. Everything God does is dictated by love – EVERYTHING – even what is known as His wrath. His wrath is not self-centered, it is us centered. When He came against the evil a person did in scripture, it was because He, knowing the heart and outcome of man’s choices, the path they would choose, protected those who had a heart to follow Him by removing from their midst the tempter – those dead-set against God’s will and way. God is love and everything He does and allows stems out of that sincere care for us, His created beings, as He works with us to build a Kingdom of people who have a heart for Him as He does for us.
Beloved, just as there is a Bema Seat to judge the works of our lives here on earth, how we loved and lived in His name, there is also a White Throne judgment. Those who refuse His gift in Christ will stand before that White throne and be cast out of His presence with no hope remaining for their eternal, immortal being. Love will compel us to live in a way that shows that we care about that fact.
Hear me, Beloved of God. Put your eternal-minded ears on. God will one day remove all evil from its ability to influence and lead His creation away from His purity—His essence. But here is the thing: as we stand before whichever judgment seat we are headed for, not only will there be full revelation of who we are within our being and what we have done in this life, but in that instant each will fully see and know Him as He is. All His glory, all His purity, ALL HIS LOVE will be evident to us all. Those who stand before Bema will enter in to enjoy His essence for all eternity. Those who refused His gift of grace through Jesus and stand before the White throne will be cast into outer darkness to never experience the light of His essence or touch the hem of the knowledge of His love for them again.
The burning of hell is not just flames and heat for all eternity. I believe with all my heart that the greater burning will be desire to stand before Him and to simply be able to touch the hem of His essence one more time.
FEEL THAT, BELOVED BROTHER AND SISTER! With every fiber of compassion you have in you, let that soak in to motivate your life. It is vital for us to understand that those who fail to choose to follow Him now will enter into eternal separation from Him knowing full well all they are missing out on. Loving compassion should move us to be as He is for the sake of bearing a testimony of love to a lost and dying world in need of the knowledge of their Savior, God and King.
It is vital that we overcome our fear in this life: fear of persecution, fear of standing out, fear of rejection, fear of being different. If we, out of love, do not overcome our “self” so as to take up our cross of self-denial in order to love others at any cost, we put those given to our charge, as being in our sphere of influence; we put them into jeopardy of eternal longing for God, all for lack of a witness to draw them into His eternal arms.
Our love-walk, not as the world loves, but to learn to be love as He is love and allow those around us to experience Him through us, is vital! “The greatest of these is LOVE” will impact those around us, bringing them to knowledge of Him and to a relationship with Him that will protect them from missing His presence with a longing that burns unfulfilled forevermore.
“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. LOVE NEVER FAILS….” ~ 1 Corinthians 13.