Lord, who will you trust with your key tasks during the end times?
Excellence isn’t always optional. Neither is holiness.
Purifying the Bride
Some ministries and Christian projects have been started out of pride, ego, selfish-ambition and greed. Other works sprang up out of a deep compassion for hurting people. Sometimes Christian movements clearly sprang from the heart of God.
The Scriptures speak of a time when all our works will be tested by fire (I Corinthians 3:10-15). I always thought the testing would happen after we died. Standing before our Lord and Master, all our good deeds on earth would be tested in His holy flame. Imagine how depressing a pile of ashes would be!
But perhaps I’m wrong.
I’ve been doing some reading. Here’s another person’s insight that “rings true” for me.
Our Good Works: Tested by Fire Here on Earth
As the end times draws closer, God will burn up every Christian good work and ministry that isn’t His. After all, Jesus is coming back for a bride “without stain or wrinkle” (Ephesians 5:27). One who is completely devoted to Him. Cleansed. Purified of all her worldly defilement.
The Meaning of the Word “Tribulation”
God’s purpose during the tribulation isn’t just to punish evil humanity. Jesus died to save every one of us and He’s not willing that any should perish. The word “tribulation” in the Greek is “thlipsis.” it translates as distress, persecution, affliction suffering and anguish. But it also means:
“a pressing together as of grapes. It conveys the idea of being squeezed or placed under pressure or crushed beneath a weight.”
God’s harsh judgments for sin during the tribulation seem to be designed to harvest every last soul that can be harvested. Some people will only come to Christ when their circumstances in life get really bad.
And a ripened field needs workers to bring in the harvest (Matthew 9:37-38).
Harvesters Needed: True Holiness Required
I believe God’s people will walk in true holiness when they learn to “abide on the vine” (John 15:1-5). For too long, we’ve “done church.” It’s time to grow up into the full stature of Christ. But we can’t produce such a great spiritual change in our lives by our own efforts. Our job is to seek Him.
Changing a Christian on the inside is the work of the Holy Spirit.
18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV)
My working definition of true holiness is “a yielded responsiveness to God.” What will develop will not be a legalistic holiness based on rules. Instead, we’ll reflect Jesus in all His glory as we remain in Him.
After all, the wind and waves obey Him—why not us?
What would the world be like if Christians promptly obeyed the Holy Spirit’s gentlest touch? It would mean setting aside our own personal goals and wishes to fulfill His desires. This adjustment in our hearts would change everything. Each and every day our lives would bear eternal fruit for our Master.
A Cabin Full of Light in the Darkness
I once saw a mental image of a darkened desert at night. In the distance, there stood a canyon, with very high, rocky walls. In the canyon’s shadow, I saw a cabin with every window shining with bright yellow light. It could be seen for miles. Because that cabin was the only source of light on that whole darkened plain, it drew my eyes irresistibly.
Instantly, I knew two things. Anyone in the darkness who wanted help—water, healing, food or safety—would struggle to get to that cabin. It was their only hope.
But evil men and women saw the cabin too. It stood out from the darkness so clearly, no one could miss it. The same light that drew the helpless also drew evil people, bent on destroying those living within the light.
Suddenly, the cabin’s light went out. The people inside had realized their danger and responded fearfully. Quickly they quenched all the light and became invisible in the darkness. No one could find them. They were safe, but miserable, because the cabin was dark and growing cold.
The Meaning of the Vision
My heart can’t condemn either choice, because I’ve never experienced the pain of suffering for my faith.
Yet I know how I want to respond if that time ever comes.
I find myself praying more fervently then I have in years, for God to make me into a Christian woman who will hear His voice and obey His Spirit’s leading, no matter what the personal cost.
The amazing young woman breathing fire gave me permission to use her two images. The bride and lit cottage images came from Pixabay.com.
My word study of “tribulation” comes from this great website. It’s called “Precept Austin.org.” There are additional teachings on this site about how the Greek word for tribulation, “thlipsis” is used in the New Testament. It includes various popular teachers’ insights.
The amazing young woman breathing fire shall remain a mystery. My thanks for her kindness in letting me use these images.