Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God. (2 Corinthians 7:1 NLT)
There is so much more to serving God than just a fear of being punished or ending up in hell.
The Lord asks us to give him our lives and everything else, in that request there is a tendency to feel as though we have given up so much and have gotten the short end of the stick some how. We tend to look at how much we have sacrificed for the Lord and the sake of his kingdom, when in actuality; the benefits far out way the sacrifices.
Here Paul reminds us of all the great promises that Jesus has in store for us. When we realize how incredible the reward he has in store for us actually is; the sacrifices made to get there don't even compare.
Jacob worked for seven years in order to make Rachel his wife. The Bible says that it seemed like only a few days to him because his love for her was so strong. To him the prize of Rachel as a wife was worth the cost.
What promises has The Lord made to you, what desires in your heart have you poured out to him and what was his reply? The Bible is stacked full of incredible blessings and the only price tag is simple obedience. Some of these blessings we get to begin to enjoy now and some of them we will enjoy later and some of them we will enjoy for eternity.
This is why Paul encourages us in Colossians 3 to fix our eyes on the realities of heaven and the blessing that will be ours when we get there. When the blessing of Heaven becomes a reality in our lives, the mandate to cleanse ourselves from everything that brings defilement, shame, fear and separation becomes our mission and passion - to live a life that make God proud as a father to a son.
I think more than anything I want to hear my Father in heaven say "Well done Son, you fought the good fight, you kept the faith and you finished the race - now enter into the joy of The Lord."
If we look at life with eternity in mind, anything the Lord asks from us is really small compared to the rewards later. Am I willing to lay down my pride to get his divine nature? My stinginess and self preservation tendencies to receive his abundant provision and limitless resource? Can I lay down my need to be right to receive his righteousness?
This is what Jim Elliott meant when he said, "He is no fool to lose what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."
Pastors Phil Harris of Epikos Church in Bend, Oregon.