- Published Date
- Francis Frangipane
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I love the Word of God. I have a burning passion that my words, whether written or spoken, might be filled with the substance of God. I love comparing translations, researching commentaries and then using that holy information to prepare teachings.
Several years ago, however, I found myself being corrected by the Lord. I had spent too much time preparing my message for a service. Suddenly, the Holy Spirit interrupted my study to recalibrate my focus. He said, "I have called you, not just to prepare sermons, but to prepare people."
This was a subtle, but profoundly significant correction. I was reminded of John the Baptist who was sent as a "forerunner before [the Messiah]." God had called John "to make ready a people prepared for the Lord" (Luke 1:17).
There is a difference between preparing a message about God and preparing a people for God. Obviously, sermon preparation is very important, but it is not an end in itself. The goal is to equip and train people to represent Christ.
As we approach the end of this age, I believe our Father is in the process of training people to serve during the last great harvest. Our destiny as Christians is to "grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ" (Eph. 4:15). This means, we must not only know that Jesus heals but know who He intends to heal and how He wants to heal them.
You see, our quest is not only to possess accurate theology, but that the actual "life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh" (2 Cor. 4:11).
Reward or Reproof
Our success in life is determined by one primary objective: how functionally transformed into Christ's likeness have we become? This reality - man created in the image of Christ - is the core purpose of our existence (Gen. 1; Rom. 8:29; etc). In my opinion, the Lord does not need to examine every individual thing we have ever done, good or evil. All things are already "open and laid bare" before Him (Heb. 4:13). What He will probe is the cumulative effect of our life's choices; He will measure how Christlike we have become.
If He sees that we were forgiving even when wounded; if He sees in us a heart that holds fast its faith even in times of adversity; if He finds us to be truly repentant and genuinely humble, even when we could boast; and if He sees we are committed to a life of love, we will have fulfilled the purpose of God. We will receive a great reward.
If, however, the Lord sees in us a soul easily offended or that we blame others for our joyless, angry attitude; if He scans our inner man and finds we are self-righteous and judgmental; or if our conscience alternately either accuses or defends ourselves, then we will render an account for our life at the judgement seat of Christ (Rom. 1:29, 2:5; 2 Cor. 5:10; Heb. 9:27).
Thus, it is of the utmost importance that we settle the eternal goal for our lives. Are we seizing life's opportunities to appropriate Christ or are we mostly coasting? Let us say with vision and assurance, I am preparing myself for God!