“For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building…” 1 Corinthians 3:9
Sometimes I get an image and I wonder if it’s from God. For example, Holy House Fire. I received this image back in 2015 while on a Christian retreat. I started to draw a house and used my colored pencils to set it on fire. I kept going, although I thought it was rather alarming. House fires are not exactly friendly and many times deadly. I added the cross door and river flowing down a grassy hilltop. Once I completed it, that’s when I really began to seek the Lord for understanding. And I was happy when I realized that I had indeed heard Him, because He led me to 1 Corinthians 3:9-17.
“But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work” (verses 10-13).
As I read, I then understood that the church was the house, or building, and I was building on the foundation that Jesus had already laid. And what I was building would be tested on the Day of Judgement. It would be brought to literal light, as on fire.
“If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames” (verses 14-15).
Fire is a serious matter and in this passage the Apostle Paul is seriously writing to the church in Corinth, many of whom are immature followers of Christ. He is trying to encourage and persuade them to grow up in the Lord and to stop being divided through quarrels and jealousy. He wants them to focus on the Lord and to reap real fruit in their lives. He warns them that what they are building (personally on the foundation of the church) will be tested and if it is burned up on the Day, they will suffer loss. They will not receive their reward because they have not earned any. This is not talking about salvation (for it says they will be “saved, but only as one escaping through the flames” verse 15), rather Paul is talking about “the quality of each man’s work” (verse 13).
So I have a few reflective questions. Please ask yourself and be honest:
What is the quality of my work?
What am I building as a Christian?
Will it survive when God’s fire comes?
Those are serious questions, but they are important to ask ourselves. As the church, we can either live for Jesus and grow in our relationship – serving Him through whatever He calls us to do – or we can do our own thing. For no matter what, our “work will be shown for what it is” (verse 13).
I personally don’t want to be one that is escaping through the flames with no work to show for my relationship with Jesus. I want to follow Christ and build on His church. For Jesus has called all of us to Himself and given us the two greatest commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself'”(Matthew 22:37-39).
In closing, we are God’s temple (building) and His Spirit, the holy fire of God, lives in us. Spiritually speaking, a house fire is good, because it symbolizes us being on fire for God and through His flames we are purified and made holy.
Father, help us to build our lives on you and through holy living that glorifies your name. May we be pure and blameless on that day through our love for you and for our neighbor. Give us the strength to follow and serve you in the body of Christ, your church. May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven!
“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
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