It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.
In this final week of the year, we will talk about how to live without regrets. Specifically, we are going to talk about how to live without regrets regarding your relationship with God.
You know, every second that passes moves us closer and closer to the moment when we are going to stand before God. The Bible says it is appointed unto every one of us once to die, and then we will face the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). How do you feel about that inevitable moment when you will stand face-to-face with God? For those of us who have experienced the grace of Jesus Christ, the thought of eternity—the thought of confronting God—should thrill us. But most of us, if we’re honest, will admit that the thought of facing God terrorizes us. Why is that? Why is it that even Christians say, “I don’t think I’m ready to stand before God. I can’t say I’m excited about having God pronounce His judgment upon my life”? I think if we’re honest, most Christians are terrified about standing face-to-face with God because of the state of our spiritual life right now.
Now, it would be very easy for me to say that through Jesus Christ we’ve been forgiven of our sins and experienced the grace of God, so there’s nothing we can do to make God love us any more or any less than He already does. And that’s true. If you’re a Christian, you can’t earn God’s love. There really is nothing you can do to make God love you any more or less than He already does. But that doesn’t exempt Christians from the reality that one day God is going to evaluate our lives.
First Corinthians 3:12–15 talks about the judgment that Christians will face. And listen to what verse 15 says: “If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” One day God is going to evaluate our life. And the Bible says He is going to judge it to be either gold, silver, and precious stones—or wood, hay, and stubble. That is, have we spent our life on ourselves, or have we spent it on the kingdom of God? Paul is saying in this passage that if our life is deemed to be inconsequential, worthless, yes, we’ll be saved, we’ll make it into heaven, but we will suffer real and measurable loss as we see what could have been ours had we been more faithful to Christ.
Some people think that heaven is going to be the same for everybody. It’s not. The Bible teaches there will be degrees of heaven. Those who are more faithful to Christ in this life are going to have more rewards in the next life. Those rewards will include special positions in heaven, special privileges in heaven, and special roles of authority. I don’t understand what all of it means, but Paul clearly says whatever those rewards are, they are very much worth working for in this life.
If you as a Christian were to stand before God, what would you most regret about your relationship with God? As I’ve talked to people, Christians, about their regrets about their relationship with Christ, there are four regrets that top the list. This week we will look at those spiritual regrets and learn what we can do right now to eliminate those future regrets when we all stand before God.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Living without Spiritual Regrets” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.