I have always been fascinated, maybe a little bit nervous, probably a little curious as well, about the Judgment Seat.
Think about the concept. At the end, we stand before Jesus and he judges us. This is a very sobering thought. I think most of us who are followers of Jesus pay way less attention to this fact in our daily lives than we should. It is very easy to live life almost forgetting this moment will occur. Imagine how different our day would be if we judged everything we said and did based on how our words or actions in that moment would affect us how Jesus judged us.
The Apostle Paul spoke directly about the judgment in 2 Corinthians 5:10. He wrote, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”
Two things stand out for me.
- We will receive what is due us. This is both good and bad. Good if we are due good things. Bad if we are due bad things.
- What is due is based on the things we have done while in the body. The words presume we will have an existence beyond the body, “out of the body.” That’s difficult to envision. It means what we do or don’t do while in our body, presumably while we are alive on earth, has a huge impact on our eternal life out of our earthly body.
Paul’s conclusion for how we live our lives then is really quite simple. He stated it the verse before in 2 Corinthians 2:9, “So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.”
This is big because it means the way to maximize the good things we are “due” in the body is to make it our goal to please Jesus…every day.
How would your day be different if you filtered every word, every action, through this question: Would this word, would this action, please Jesus?
This is why motive is important. Motive is the why question. Why do you do what you do on a daily basis? Every one of your actions can be analyzed by the motive behind the action.
Who are those who receive the best due from Jesus at the judgment seat? It will be those who have done the most beneficial things in the body and, consequently, the least bad things.
Who are those who receive the best? Those who have done the best in the body.
The reward equation, however, is not as simple as listing good and bad deeds. A person can do good deeds for selfish motives, negating the spiritual value of the good deeds. So who will actually acquire the best judgments from Jesus at the end? Those who have had the best motives which led to the best deeds.
Good motive + good deed = good reward.
Bad motive + bad deed = bad reward.
But here is the important thing…
Bad motive + good deed = bad reward.
To truly be rewarded for your behavior you must have good motives and good deeds.
So who are those who have the best motives and the best deeds? Those who experience the most spiritual growth throughout their lives.
If my goal is to experience the best spiritual judgment in the next life, then I must make pleasing Jesus my primary goal in this life.
In the end, there is no way to avoid the fact there is an eternal accounting for how we live our lives upon the earth.
So what can you do?
I suggest you work on increasing your “situational awareness.” Each day, evaluate every situation you find yourself in through this lens: Do your words or actions in this situation please Jesus?
If you can become involved in more situations that will promote words and behaviors that are pleasing to Jesus, you will grow spiritually and obtain a better judgment.
If you allow yourself to become involved in more situations that will promote words and behaviors not pleasing to Jesus, you will experience less spiritual growth and not obtain a better judgment.
As you read this think through the situations you have been involved in today. Were they helpful to your judgment? Were they hurtful to your judgment?
You be the judge…
But remember in the end, Jesus is the only judge. Only his opinion matters. Therefore let’s live to please him.