If you visit the ‘set’ where a TV show is filmed you will see ‘rooms’ that appear amazing in the production, but that are actually anything but solid! The eye of the camera can be fooled with props and paint. What looks so ‘real’ is an illusion.
When I was a little boy, we visited “Frontiertown.” Capitalizing on the craze for Westerns, the place was supposed to be a recreation of a town from the Old West. Since we were guests of the owner, we were treated to a kind of back stage pass. Imagine my disappointment when I saw the things that looked so real from the ‘Main Street’ were mostly false fronts and props. The ‘cowboys’ turned out to be college kids with summer jobs.
Let’s get serious. Is your Christianity authentic, a thing of beauty and real value?
Or, is your faith a ‘set’ constructed for appearances only, largely without function in your daily life?
A tragic truth is that many settle for a kind of discipleship that only looks good. Superficially, they look just like a real follower of Jesus, but when life presses that person, when things turn inside out and upside down, their lack of substance is revealed. By contrast, the disciple who has ‘built his house on the rock’ becomes even more beautiful in the time of trial. The darkness of trial causes the beauty of Jesus to shine even more brightly. The pressure of pain releases God’s grace like the fragrance of a crushed rose fills the room with its sweetness.
The Word reminds us that even if we fool most of the people almost all of the time, God knows what we’re really made of. This passage ought to give us pause. “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.” (1 Corinthians 3:10-15, NLT)
It is far easier to be content with merely looking good than it is to truly be good!
That person who wants to know Christ deeply and authentically will have to wrestle with ‘the sinful nature.’ He will have to face unpleasant facts about himself and put Self to death. He will have to learn to trust in things he cannot see, shape his hope around promises yet to be fully possessed, and serve the will of Another. Some Christians will judge this kind of disciple as having a lesser or faulty faith because he will admit to his flaws rather than concealing them behind spiritual make-up!
For whose eyes are you living, disciple?
Are you real, solid, and spending yourself to build a life that is full of treasures of grace?
Here are Jesus’ words about life construction. God, make us truly beautiful. “These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock. “But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.” (Matthew 7:24-27, The Message)
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.
Christ alone, cornerstone.
Weak made strong in the Savior’s love
Through the storm He is Lord, Lord of all.
When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.
My anchor holds within the veil.
He is Lord, Lord of all!
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone
Faultless stand before the throne.
Edward Mote | Eric Liljero | Jonas Myrin | Reuben Morgan | William Batchelder Bradbury
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