Jesus Did It!
YOUR PASSION TO BE OBEDIENT WILL GREATLY DETERMINE YOUR ETERNAL REWARDS
By: Norm Rasmussen
What have you been passionate about over your life? Your first girlfriend? First boyfriend? Pursuit of a successful marriage? A particular sport? Excellence in academics? Profession - career? Increasing financial abundance - security? Cooking? Traveling? Raising children - nurturing grandchildren? The list can keep growing.
What we become passionate about essentially is what we live for, isn't it? Everything else we have to do other than pursuing and/or being engaged in our passion is simply a means of enabling us to continue to pursue and excel in our passion for that which excites and energizes us the most, does it not?
People who live in a state of depression have lost their passion for just about everything. Perhaps discouragement - setbacks - hardships - has drowned out their passion for what they used to love doing. A person who has had their passion taken away from them for whatever reason(s) is a person whose flame is beginning to grow dimmer and dimmer...sadly.
Enter Jesus Christ. Jesus came from heaven to earth to impart to people passion and passion more ABUNDANTLY!
Don't believe me? Paraphrasing John 10:10, Jesus says: "I came that people might have passion, and passion more ABUNDANTLY!" (* See footnote below).
"I came to demonstrate passion for something that will reap eternal joy and glory for those who become passionate as I am passionate for WHAT I am passionate FOR."
What was it that Jesus was the most passionate about? To do the will of the Father. To please God the Father in every way Jesus knew how. (Anyone who reads the Book of John will clearly see just how focused and energized Jesus was in pleasing God the Father).
Jesus made a statement of monumental significance to those who will listen (have spiritual ears to hear, in other words) in Matthew 6:19-21 (NKJV) when He declared:
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
What is Jesus fully trying to communicate to us in this portion of scripture?
Let's tackle the second portion of this scripture first: Whatever you have passion for, there you will find your zeal for life and greatest purpose and joy for living. Does that make sense?
Treasure=Purpose -- Heart=Passion. (Paraphrasing: "For whatever you have made your purpose in life to be, that you will be most passionately excited about").
Now let's tackle the first portion of the above scripture. This is the most important! Jesus is communicating to us that just because we have passion for one or more things in this life does not assure us that it will bring happiness and joy down the road - especially in eternity. He's also saying: What a person treasures reveals what they truly value ... revealing the true state of a person's heart.
Have you ever had stolen something of great importance to you? Say a rare coin collection? Some collectors' guns? How about your earthly possessions burned up in a fire? Or maybe your 401k disintegrate from quarter to quarter? Perhaps a home fore-closed on? Maybe your company going into bankruptcy and/or completely going under? Worst of all, how about one or more loved ones taken from you from disease or in an untimely accident like happened in the Haiti earthquake in early 2010?
When that which we love and cherish the most is suddenly taken away from us, our heart aches, does it not? A flame in our soul begins to start painfully flickering?
Jesus is communicating to us in the first declaration that there is something we can love and cherish and have burning passion for that CANNOT break our heart, and the reason it CANNOT break our heart is because it is IMPOSSIBLE for anyone or anything to take it away from us!
What in the world could that BE?! How can something like that EXIST?!
Answer: Making our passion the very same passion Jesus had and has! Making our passion a burning zeal to please God the Father. None other. First and foremost. Everything else secondary.
Yet there is more to it than just a burning passion to please God the Father.
Jesus had passion for TRUTH. As much as Jesus had passion to please God the Father, Jesus also had passion for Truth. The two were and ARE inseparable with God the Father. Jesus was incapable of having passion for God the Father at the exclusion of Truth, because one of the several names of Jesus Christ IS Truth. When you ARE Truth personified, it is impossible to do anything other than eat, sleep, dream and pursue Truth.
Here is fact. A person can make it their number one purpose in this life to please God the Father, yet end up spending eternity in hell!
How so? Case in point. The Pharisees and the Sadducees (the ruling, religious people at the time of Jesus) that were responsible for seeing Jesus die on the cross were totally focused on pleasing who they believed to be God the Father. Jesus had clearly told them that it wasn't God the Father they were pleasing at ALL, but rather, Satan - the father of lies. There were a lot of things Jesus said and did that infuriated the religious ruling elite of his day, but making that truthful accusation against them was enough to send them into rage against him.
What was the missing ingredient in their lives - these religious rulers - that saw to it that Jesus was beaten and sent to die on the cross? They were bypassing TRUTH. What they believed to be "truth" was really Satan's LIE to them, that they had chosen to believe. They truly believed that Jesus was a FALSE messiah -- a blasphemous, heretical false messiah at that!
So what's my point? If a person makes it their number one passion to be pleasing to God the Father (or just plain "God") yet somehow believes Satan's lies that the New Testament Bible is NOT the truth that God the Father wants humanity knowing about AND obeying - they are laying up rewards in eternity that will turn to wood, hay and stubble. (See: 1 Cor. 3:3-17).
What is dead wood, dead hay, and dead stubble good for? To start a fire with and burn up. (See: John 15:5-6)
Jesus Christ had and has a burning passion to please God the Father. Jesus Christ also had and has a burning passion to motivate others to seek after Truth - seek to understand Truth correctly - seek to obey Truth by direction and help of the Holy Spirit. All the Truth God expects us to seek after and obey is found in the New Testament Holy Bible. If someone or something tries to tell you differently, and you end up believing them and living your life in opposition to the New Testament Holy Bible - your rewards will not bring maximized return for you in eternity, I can promise you.
Is that IT then? Is that what we are to have a passion for as well, to make CERTAIN we are laying up rewards in heaven that bring maximized return on our spiritual investment?
No. That isn't ALL. There is MORE! What can you fathom that would make God the Father the most pleased?
Let's never forget WHY God the Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ to earth for in the first place. Jesus Christ -- being One of the three persons of the eternal Godhead -- didn't need to come to earth to please God the Father. Jesus could have remained in heaven and accomplished that. However, because Adam and Eve disobeyed God and sinned against God when Satan tempted them, their sinful nature passed down to every person, which includes you and I.
God clearly states in the New Testament THIS Truth. God MUST punish each person for their sin against Him. He made that abundantly clear in the Old Testament Holy Bible. UNLESS there is some other way for God to execute His judgment and wrath for our sins.
Ahhh - there WAS! There IS! Send Jesus to earth and take the punishment - wrath - HIMSELF! Send God HIMSELF to earth in complete human likeness and be tempted in every way that every other person has or will be tempted to sin, yet not once sinning. And because He never sinned once, that qualified Him to be the PERFECT sacrifice - the PERFECT ransom payment - for all yours and my sins, and for the sins of every other person. He became the One who took full punishment for our sins, so we could be freed forever for eternal punishment for them. He went to prison for us, so we could be freed to never have to go to prison. He took ALL of God's wrath that we had coming for sinning against God the Father, so we would not experience that wrath and suffering - eternal suffering no less. WOW!
And SO ...? Is that which we are passionate about going to somehow keep one person from going to hell - for eternity?
Dear reader: God the Father has the absolute GREATEST passion to keep lost souls from being sent to hell for eternity. And Jesus HAD and HAS the very same passion as God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, as do the angels that serve God.
If we are going to make our number one purpose for living on this planet -- if we are going to make a decision to make our PRIMARY passion to please God the Father - yet have no passion whatsoever in trying to be used of God in every way that would be pleasing to HIM to be used of the Holy Spirit to help stop a lost soul from being judged to hell for eternity - we are laying up rewards that will "rust" - rewards that "moths" can devour - rewards that can be - stolen by demonic thieves - rewards that will vanish into absolute regret and nothingness.
Having a passion to please God the Father at the EXCLUSION of bypassing the importance of being used by Him in some way to help reach lost souls will have you settling for a lot less eternal rewards, I assure you.
And once a lost soul makes a commitment to Jesus Christ, that born again, redeemed, reconciled back to God in good standing soul will need a lot of help becoming mature in his/her relationship as they passionately seek to please the Father the rest of their days on earth. The word commonly used to describe this process is: Discipleship.
Soul winning endeavors and helping disciple Christian converts in accordance with wisely understood and wisely applied New Testament Truth is where we can be absolutely 100% assured that our passion to please God will not result in worthless wood, hay and stubble at the Judgment Seat of Christ (dispensing of eternal rewards time for true Christians).
God wants us being passionate about what He is passionate about:
Walking in obedience to His New Testament Truth, first and foremost, and secondarily ... in obedience to whatever God specifically wills for you to do in all areas of your life that are not addressed in the Bible (profession; marriage; etc. When you learn to DO what God desires, when God desires, and how God desires ... you are walking the path of God's wisdom. When one walks the path of God's wisdom ... there is very little God can't trust you with).
Helping to save lost souls.
Helping to disciple newborn, saved souls, and being a source of help to more mature Christians going through trials, and to assist them however the Holy Spirit would will you to do so - especially on behalf of God's calling in their life.
Not all of us are going to be given the same gifts or calling from God to help reach lost souls. None of us can do everything necessary to help in the disciplining process of a born again believer. It requires the assistance of the entire Body of Christ, with its many different giftings and callings.
Yet every one of us have no excuse for not walking in obedience to God's New Testament commands. We EACH have equal access to the Holy Spirit to obey God to OBEY New Testament commands. As we do, we can be assured that we are laying up eternal rewards in heaven that will not be stolen from us, nor diminish in value in any way.
[Please don't anyone assume I'm tossing out the Old Testament here, okay? The Old Testament is a RICH resource to help us understand the nature and character of God, as well as to bring illumination, guidance and comfort, but God gave humanity a NEWER Testament about learning of His nature, character, and PRIORITIES. The Old Testament can make the New Testament all that much more richer ... for those who have diligently soaked up the WISE treasures of truth and wisdom in the New Testament].
Having passion to obey the New Testament commands is the very same passion Jesus had while on earth, and His passion has not changed in heaven, nor will it ever change. In fact, His passion is so focused to see New Testament commands obeyed. He's coming back to Earth and people who are alive and down here with Him at that time, once evil has been done away with, are going to have one solitary passion. That one solitary passion will be to please Him. From day one of His Earthly rule until 1,000 years are up. (After 1,000 years, God is going test people one more time to determine WHAT and WHO they truly want to remain passionate about before He makes new heavens and a new earth for those who pass the test).
Let's conclude. When you get to heaven, you'll find there will be only ONE THING that you'll be passionate about. Pleasing God the WAY He determines you should please Him. Let's ask ourselves a very important and sobering question. If being passionate about pleasing God is what I'll be doing for eternity -- why in the world am I wasting my time, energies, and resources on things that are NOT pleasing Him NOW?
Misguided, unwise passion. Let God do some very important surgery where it's needed, and patiently ask and trust Him to replace it with a burning passion for reaching lost souls, and/or helping those redeemed souls grow strong in their relationship with God - so THEY are going into the highways and byways duplicating passion in others the way YOU have sowed passion into them.
That's what Jesus did - and would do - is it not?
A highly recommended writing on this topic of "eternal rewards" can be found at this link: https://www.jashow.org/articles/general/the-rewards-you-can-gain-or-lose-at-the-judgment-seat-of-christ-program-3/
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*Footnote: The declaration "that Jesus came to give life, and life more abundantly" ... certainly encompasses many more things than just PASSION for what we love doing. I have to believe that through the eons of eternity, we're will be experiencing untold dimensions of the "Life" Jesus Christ will be imparting to those who have made Him their Savior and Lord.
To get a glimpse of this "life" from another rich perspective, read the following writing in its entirety: http://www.worldchallenge.org/node/7812
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