Now, you can listen and/or read!
Focus: True rewards
Proverbs 22:4 (AMP) The reward of humility and the reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.
If we read all of the words of Proverbs 22:4 in any translation, the words that probably stand out most and motivate us are: reward, riches, honor, and life. Everyone is interested in getting those things, aren’t they? Those words sum up the American dream.
We live to earn rewards, get honor, and have riches—right? And we get them by doing things better than anyone else. By staying up late and getting up early and working harder than the rest—right?
Well, in the kingdom of God—it seems those things may come to us in a much different way than we may have learned in our modern society. According to this scripture, the reward of riches and honor and life in ‘kingdom’ terms are the result of a life lived ‘upside down’ and ‘inside out’—compared to what we know.
We know salvation comes by grace through faith, according to Ephesians 2:8. Admission to heaven can’t be earned by our works. It’s clear—God has promised us Salvation as a free gift, but anyone who studies the words of Jesus in His sermon on the mount will notice the emphasis He gives to ‘reward in heaven’.
The apostle Paul makes many references to our reward in heaven and also that some will receive more rewards than others. Solomon, Daniel, John and others write about rewards in heaven—so there is plenty of material in the Bible on the topic of ‘rewards’, if you want to study it out.
For now, let’s assume we all agree that there will be rewards in heaven. But, what I would like you to consider—is the possible concept that the way you will receive rewards in heaven is based on the way you live your life on earth. If that is the case—what kind of things do you think would qualify for rewards? Those who win souls, those who have used the talents and abilities God gave them, those who suffer for the sake of the Gospel. The list can go on and on…
Many of the things we think of that relate to reward potential have to do with works…and clearly there will be some rewards given for what we ‘did’ with our time, our money, and our actions. However, the verse we have been contemplating is talking about something that is ‘invisible’ in a sense. It is talking about the condition of ‘humility’ and a ‘reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord’. These are ‘unseen’ things about our character that only God knows for sure.
Some things you do or the way you do them—might cause people to remark how humble you are or what reverence you have for the Lord—but what does the Lord say about you? He is the one who sees us behind our masks and behind all of the things we do for outward appearance.
So, if all that would be true… What if you were to think of ‘humility’ and ‘the reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord’ as ‘currency’, what would be in your spiritual bank account right now? You say, “What?”
Let me break it down. What if you earned a spiritual penny for every ‘invisible’ act of kindness you did on earth? What if you earned more spiritual pennies for minutes you lived in ‘unseen’ contemplation of the greatness of God—as an act of heartfelt worship? In those terms…what is in your spiritual bank account?
I’m saying—maybe we need to spend less time on outward acts of the flesh and more time being ‘invisible’—doing things that are not seen. Truthfully, it’s not that hard to do things that are kind and generous. It makes us feel good when we get thanked and noticed for our deeds. But, what if all of that was worth ‘nothing’, and the only things that really counted were the things that were ‘unseen’. How much different would we live?
Declaration: I will find new strength by considering my motivation in everything I do. As I live, I will ask myself, “What is my true intention?” I will begin investing more of myself in the ‘unseen’—not with a heart that is motivated by heavenly reward, but with a heart that is truly filled with absolute love and reverence for the Lord, Who alone is worthy of worship.
If you subscribe to New Strength, a new segment will come to your email each day.
For music selections that will help bring hope and encouragement during your recovery from depression and addiction, browse:http://www.youtube.com/view_all_playlists
All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.