Two Criteria For Evaluating Our Lives

The Lord . . . [will] bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.
–1 Corinthians 4:5

At the Judgment Seat of Christ, there are two criteria God is going to use to judge the kind of life you and I have built.

The first criterion of judgment is the significance of our works. If you spend your time, talents, and treasures here pursuing your own agenda, that is like building a house of wood, hay, or straw. I am not talking about a life that is built on evil; I am talking about a worthless life, a life that is focused on yourself. What happens at the judgment if your life is built on your own profits, power, or pleasure? It will be consumed with fire.

On the other hand, you can build your life with more durable materials: glorifying God, sharing Christ with as many people as possible, giving up some temporary pleasures and perks in this life to invest your money in God’s kingdom. Those things really matter to God and represent a life built with gold, silver, and precious stones. In 1 Corinthians 3:14-15, Paul said, “If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” If you are a Christian and your life is judged to be worthless, you will still get into Heaven, but you will smell of smoke.

The second criterion of judgment is the motives of our works. Sometimes why we do what we do is as important as what we do. In 1 Corinthians 4:5, Paul said, “The Lord . . . [will] bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.” God cares about our motives. If you give money to God’s work in order to be able to brag to others, that does not count for gold; it counts as wood. If you are diligent in sharing your faith so you can brag about how many people are in the kingdom because of you, that is not silver; that is hay. Our motives really do matter before God. Proverbs 16:2 says, “All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, but the Lord weighs the motives.”

Some of you might ask, “Isn’t living your life in order to earn rewards a selfish motive? Isn’t it self-centered to earn all these rewards so you can have a better spot in Heaven than other people?” Somebody has said that selfishness is trying to gain more at somebody else’s expense. But did you know that it is possible to gain more at God’s expense? God does not have a finite amount of resources that if you take some from Him, then He has less. God has an inexhaustible supply of riches. When He rewards you, His net worth is not diminished one iota. In fact, when you think about it, working for rewards is a sign of what God values most in our lives, and that is faith.

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Will Heaven Be The Same For Everyone?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2016.

Scripture quotations are 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. (

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