Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God. – 1Cor. 4:5 NIV
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In the world that we live in today, living the Christian lifestyle can be very challenging. The entire world order seem to be upside down as it is looking like things that were traditionally deemed right are now wrong just as those that used to be wrong are now right. Even Christian standards are not spared as biblical norms are being neglected for unexplainable reasons and replaced by principles that are completely strange to Christianity. It is no longer unusual to find individuals who claim to be Christians or even serving Priests who have confess to being gay neither is it strange to see laws of God compromised on the altar of financial or other carnal incentives. Practitioners of Christian doctrines are made to feel outdated or extremists and in most cases are deprived of rights and privileges on this basis. The consequence of this is the production of more people who are identifying with Christianity but are very much unwilling to operate the Christian lifestyle as this tend to expose them to very difficult life experiences – Jms. 1:22. If this is the experience of the average Christian, that of the very active Christian who intends to implement the instruction of the Almighty God and his Messiah, Jesus Christ, that all should go into the world and spread the gospel, is not different. These group of people cannot hide their identities if they are to be effective but will also find strict adherence to what they are preaching very challenging in real life. In actual fact, they do not stop completely being associated with some worldly actions which is regarded as sin and their hope or claim of righteousness rests completely on the grace that is provided due to their acceptance and belief in the Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior – Rom. 3:23; 7:7-25; 1Jn. 1:8-10.
Non-Christians, especially the mischief makers do not see the challenge associated with living the Christian lifestyle in a largely carnal world that we all live in as all they want to do is to identify the errors of judgement in the life of the one who has not only decided to live the Christian lifestyle but to also herald it – Josh. 3:1-7. This they do to discredit such a person by describing such in very derogatory terms like hypocrite, deceiver, fake, etc. All these are deliberate acts to make the Christian feel inferior and unfit to herald the good news and these remains one of the strategies of the devil over the years including the period of the disciples and Apostles of old.
The Apostle Paul must have witnessed this attempt to intimidate, discourage and demotivate him when in writing to the Corinthians, he advised them on how he and other Apostles should be regarded – 1Cor. 4:1. He wanted them and fellow Christians with the same zeal toward the Christian lifestyle to be regarded as
- Servants of Christ and to whom they remain loyal and faithful. All his instructions to them are to be implemented to the letter, not necessarily because they are pure and saintly but because they do not have any choice other than to do the bidding of their Master – 1Cor. 4:1a
- As those entrusted with the mysteries of God as revealed. To be entrusted here means to be assigned a responsibility by the one who sent them with the belief that all such instructions will be implemented without any alterations. They are trusted to discharge those duties according to his Will and not what they desire – 1Cor. 4:1b; In. 6:38-46.
Regarding them in any other manner will be invalid and that includes attempts to regard them as perfect people that are infallible, as all they are doing is to remain obedient and faithful to the one who sent them – 1Cor. 4:2.
That is why he (Apostle Paul) will not be bothered about how he is been judged by people around him, just as he is not even judging himself. He revealed that he has a clear conscience about anything he may be accused of even though it does not mean that he is innocent but will rather wait for the judgement of the Lord – 1Cor. 4:3-4. He would also prefer that all do the same by waiting for the judgement of the Lord who in the scripture that is the foundation of today’s devotion (1Cor. 4:15),
- Will come at the appointed time. This is good enough information for all, to note that there is indeed an appointed time for the judgement of every action and it is only at such times that every action will be judged – Eccl. 12:14; 2Cor. 5:10. It is therefore best not to judge any action till such times –Gen. 18:25.
- The Lord who is the judge of the whole earth at that time will bring to light what is hidden in darkness. Only Him has the ability to see all the actions of men done in the open or in secret, and is thus able to render a perfect judgement as all issues are laid bare before Him.
- He will expose the motives behind all actions and will bring to light all that is hidden in darkness. Because he judges motives and not actions, He will reveal the reasoning behind every action, such that those who seem to be doing right may be deemed bad because of the negative motives whilst those who seem to be doing wrong may be exonerated because of their positive intention – 1Sam. 16:7; Jn. 12:1-6.
- And He will reward all accordingly. Although men reward, but the best and eternal reward is with Him and He will reward according to all that a man does, be it good or evil – Rom. 2:6-10; 2Cor. 5:10; Rev. 22:12-14.
The Christian today should therefore not bother about the judgement of men especially those who are outside the household of God but should be willing to accept correction, especially from those with divine intentions. The actions of people that belong to the former category are subtle attempts to discourage him/her from doing the Will of the Almighty God in this perverse world, and in the process implement the plan of the devil – Jn. 8:44. Definitely, no one is perfect and that includes the evangelising Christian but that should never be the reason for not implementing the Will and instructions of God that we go into the world and preach the gospel – Mk. 16:15-16. It should never be about the judgement of men but about the intention for doing those things that such a person is being accused of. Such should however be extremely careful about his/her conducts so as not to give the impression that being a Christian is a license to continue to sin deliberately – Heb. 10:26. This will always remain unacceptable because then the intention for such act will be definitely against the Will of God.
Aside from that, Christians should never stop trying to do that which is right at all times and worry less about those obvious imperfections that feature in their lives. The judge of the whole earth is coming and He will judge according to intentions. May your intentions be noble sufficiently to earn you exoneration and positive rewards in Jesus name. Amen.