Take particular care in picking out your building materials. Eventually there is going to be an inspection. If you use cheap or inferior materials, you’ll be found out. The inspection will be thorough and rigorous. You won’t get by with a thing. If your work passes inspection, fine; if it doesn’t, your part of the building will be torn out and started over. But you won’t be torn out; you’ll survive—but just barely. -1 Corinthians 3:13-15
When you are making your choices, everything you use to make them will be scrutinized. Absolute honesty is the only way to pass inspection. Justifications are not good enough. They may hold up the same way ‘wood, hay or straw’ hold up, but as soon as the Wind comes they’ll be shown for what they are. When the Fire comes, all of your secrets will be out and you’ll have to watch what you’ve built out of desperation turn into a pile of ash. You can do what you want, but you will get away with nothing.
‘Purified as in fire.’ You’ll learn to despise your excuses for choosing failure. You’ll learn to abhor ‘what you want.’ ‘Not my will, but yours be done.’ That’s not a joyful wrist flutter or a flower you stick in a prayer bouquet. It’s a scream. It’s the earth shuddering at its core. It’s an acknowledgment. It’s the submission before the death.
Is it that we don’t think God actually exists? Is that why we do exactly what feels good and make sure we’ve covered our bases just in case anybody asks? They beat the servants while the master is away. They take a nap while they’re supposed to be ready.
“The servant who knows what his master wants and ignores it, or insolently does whatever he pleases, will be thoroughly thrashed.” -Jesus, Luke 12:47
This isn’t some backwoods hellfire rant with a rattlesnake bite communion. This is a lesson from someone who’s been there. You may be thrashed and burnt, but you won’t be lost. ‘You’ll survive ‘ and have another chance to do it right. Nobody can make you do anything, but I can warn you about what’s down the wrong road.
“You don’t have to be a genius to understand these things. Just use your common sense, the kind you’d use if, while being taken to court, you decided to settle up with your accuser on the way, knowing that if the case went to the judge you’d probably go to jail and pay every last penny of the fine. That’s the kind of decision I’m asking you to make.” -Jesus, Luke 12:57-59
There is always grace. There is always forgiveness and mercy. Nobody can take that away from you. But don’t underestimate how or how much it will change you. Grace doesn’t give someone the last laugh. It changes them into someone who would choose differently if they’re ever in that situation again.