"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad"
The clarity of this verse rings out to us. We are responsible for everything we do. Every choice we make is recorded and will be evaluated at the end of life. It is so easy to push this truth to the back of life and pretend it is not going to happen. Most people today are playing a game of pretend that there is no end of life evaluation. But it will happen. God tells us that we will be evaluated.
We make choices every day to say things, to do things, to have a certain attitude and those choices create the life that we live. But not only do our choices create the life we enjoy here on earth, they are the basis for the life we will live in eternity. This truth magnifies the choices that we make.
Be careful that positive things come out of your mouth. Be deliberate that your actions are loving and helpful. Make sure that your attitude is about how you can make a positive difference. It is just too easy to choose to say the negative thing; to be selfish and stupid with our actions; to live with a self-absorbed attitude.
Christians do not escape judgment day because they are Christians. Instead they face Christ over whether they have used His grace to accomplish good things in the world around them.
When you look back at this week in your life, will it be evident that your choices produced good and positive results in the life of those around you as well as in your own life? Or will you look at this week and see that you were negative and greedy or self-absorbed and brooding. It is your choice how this week is evaluated on judgment day. God has given us the grace to choose differently.
Look at each of your relationships and choose to inject love into them this week. Your relationship with God -- love Him by practicing the spiritual disciplines. Your personal development and care -- love yourself by choosing to learn, rest, risk, or exercise. Your relationship with your spouse -- love your spouse by choosing to celebrate their value at a new level. Your relationship with your family -- love your family by choosing to have fun with them in some collective game or learning situation. Your relationship with work -- love your work by throwing yourself into it and bring a new level of production or intelligence to that arena. Your relationship with money -- decide that you will love your money by becoming better at the income side, the management side, or the generosity side. Your relationship with your community -- choose to volunteer in your community in some way and make a positive difference. Your relationships with your friends -- choose to invest time and focus on your friends. Your relationships with your enemies -- choose to meet the needs of your enemies so that they will see a true Christian.
Remember that some day you will be evaluated for all your choices and you will be very glad that you chose to turn to the right rather than to give into every temptation that came at you.
Let me explain something theologically about the judgment day. The Scriptures make a point of saying that both righteous and wicked go through a judgment day (Revelations 20) but that judgment day is separated into two very different kinds of judgments. The first one is for the righteous who by faith in God were declared righteous because of the sacrifice of Christ. The second one is for those who sought to earn their favor with God through their own good works. In the first judgment day – which is for the righteous – God will be looking for anything we did right and God-honoring, burning up what was selfish and sinful (2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Corinthians 3). The second judgment day is when God evaluates those who sought to be their own salvation. He will evaluate them looking for any mistakes. He will see if they were perfect (Romans 2; Revelations 20). It makes a huge difference whether God is looking for things to reward or mistakes to punish. The choice of which task He will be doing on your judgment day is up to you. If you accept His offer of unconditional forgiveness through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ, He will begin looking for any times you cooperate with Him and do something right, loving, and good. If you push away from God and seek to live your own life, setting your own standards and your own code, then He will judge you by your own code to be less than perfect (Romans 2:14-16). He will look through your life for mistakes, violations of your own code, selfishness, and unethical behavior and, unfortunately, He will find it. Every person will be without excuse.