The Apostle writes, “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please Him” (2 Corinthians 5:8, 9 NIV11). Obviously, our motive to please Him isn’t to curry His favor. Look at all the favor God has already shown to us undeserving sinners. The Father gave up His Son for us.
The Son laid down His life for us. How could we imagine that our efforts could ever merit more favor than what He has already shown us! Likewise, our motive is not fear-driven, terrified that we might take a wrong step and bring down His everlasting punishment on us. In Christ, we have full and free forgiveness, which frees us from that kind of terror.
Rather as we walk heavenward in faith, that faith eagerly desires to do what is God-pleasing because of all that He has done for us. Faith does all things, even eating and drinking, to the glory of God. Faith shines out to show God’s love toward others in our words and actions.
Faith places God and His Word first in our lives. And as faith does all this in this broken world, we need courage. The world belittles faith in Jesus. The world wants us to follow what we see, not what God promises. The world wants us to place the earthly first. It takes courage to walk heavenward in faith.
But keep your eyes forward-looking at the judgment seat. Doubt and unbelief worries questioning, “What will the verdict be? Have I done enough good? Does He really know all my sins? Is He going to hold me accountable?” Doubt and unbelief cope by trying not to think about Judgment Day or by imagining that the Judge can be swayed by our efforts or sincerity.
Faith, though, sees who the Judge is. Who is that on the judgment seat? None other than my own dear Savior, Jesus Christ. Faith calls out, “Guilty sinner though I am, You died for me, dear Jesus.” Faith knows the verdict that has already rung out from the tomb: “Forgiven because Jesus has risen!”
Faith knows and believes that Jesus’ blood has washed my record clean. Faith knows and believes that even though sin corrupts even the best that I do, Jesus purifies my works. Faith eagerly waits for Him to hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant! Come … take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world” (Matthew 25:23, 34 NIV84).
This gives us courage, courage to do what is pleasing to our God no matter what hardships or dangers we must travel through. For we already know the final outcome as we walk heavenward in faith. We know the verdict. What’s more, even though the world rejects and despises the good we do in God’s name, our Savior knows and he does not forget. So boldly, courageously do what is right good with your faith focused on Jesus Christ, the righteous Judge, who freely credits you with His righteousness.
Those homeward-bound pets faced many dangers and challenges as they journeyed home through the wild woods. We, too, walk-in danger all the way. But our walk is heavenward. We walk by faith, faith in Jesus. Keep walking heavenward by faith, longing to be with your Lord, courageous to do what is pleasing to Him.
The peace of God that surpasses all understanding keeps your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.