The Substance of a Life

December 20, 2016

1 Corinthians 3:11-13

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. 

The Substance of a Life

2 Corinthians 5:13 says, “Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” We who are in Christ are new creatures.  We have a new recipe and it is not the same as the man of the earth, our flesh and our natural man.  We are now a creation of the Spirit of God, birthed into the nature of God, ‘old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.’  

I remember an illustration once given by a pastor’s wife who had a neighbor that loved her cake and wanted the recipe.  She gave the recipe to her neighbor and her neighbor went home to bake the cake.  Later when she talked to the neighbor the neighbor told her that her recipe was terrible and the cake didn’t taste good at all.  Now the pastor’s wife was surprised at this and began to inquire about how she baked it.  

She asked, “Did you use real butter?” 

The neighbor said, “No, I didn’t have any butter so I used margarine.”  

She asked, “Did you use real vanilla extract?”

“No,” said the neighbor, “I didn’t have that so I used imitation vanilla flavoring.”

“You did use the condensed milk didn’t you?

“No, I didn’t have that either so I used powdered milk.” 

Throughout the whole recipe the neighbor had substituted something else for the true ingredients called for, but in her mind it was the recipe that was bad.  How many times do we do that with God’s Word and His recipe for our lives? We want to substitute natural ingredients for spiritual ones.  We want to do things our way rather than His, then when things don’t turn out we blame God for the bad recipe.  

There is an old adage; “The proof is in the pudding.”  Simply put the proof is what is produced in something.  Our works and our life will one-day stand the fire and judgement of God’s scrutiny.  What proof will be in our pudding?  What will be left standing will be what was built upon the incorruptible life of God.  It will be the ingredients of His recipe.  If we have or are building our life on any other substance than His Word and His Life then the day will reveal it.  We may be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.  

We must ask ourselves, “What is our life’s work producing.”  Is it producing a godly seed in our children?  Is it the opportunity to minister and demonstrate Christ in the workplace?  Is it the opportunity taken to pour into the lives of our neighbors and others through acts of kindness and love?  Is it ministering to the needy and less fortunate and supporting ministries that are?  Is it centering our life on the foundation of Jesus Christ and becoming that new creature as we follow the recipe of His Holy Word?  

We all like to hear and interrupt things our way.  We all like to act in our best interest and for our benefit.  When we start building the house of God with the tools of the flesh we aren’t going to get spiritual results.  We are going to get a mixture of flesh and spirit, a pollution of what God has intended.  Many of us can see the results of those mixtures in our lives today.  They have not produced for us lives of power and victory.  Often it has produced shame and defeat.  What is even worse is that so often it has brought shame and reproach upon the name of our Lord.  

God has a recipe and if we want our lives to come forth in the light of His glory, then we need to follow it the best we can as we rely upon the Holy Spirit to direct and help us in implementing His Truth.  For the best results of seeing the promises of God’s Word fulfilled in your life, follow the recipe.  It will produce the substance of His Life in you.



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