Q. What is the difference between submitting to the direction God/Jesus has for our lives and doing things because we are Christian? Example. All my life I have worked with the kids at church doing Christmas plays, puppets, etc. I struggle with “Is this the direction God had for my life?” vs. “I do these things because that is what we are to do as Christian people.” I go on mission trips because I feel it’s my responsibility to help others. I haven’t ever had this great sense of being called to do something. I do the things I do because that is what is expected. Am I wrong? Will these be burned as wood, hay and stumble at the bema seat?
A. Understanding the difference between the two is not an exact science. It requires a fair amount of discernment and a submissive spirit.
In Romans 12:1-2 Paul explained that the way to discover God’s will for us is to first subordinate our will for our life to His, so that the things we do are done as an act of worshiping Him. As we do this we’ll begin to receive guidance concerning what He wants us to do, and by following His guidance we’ll find ourselves living in His will for us.
It’s never too late to start this. In Colossians 3:23-24 Paul said,
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
My understanding of 1 Cor. 4:5 is that no matter how mundane or ordinary our work is, the attitude with which we do it will determine whether the Lord sees it as gold, silver and precious gems, or as wood, hay and straw. He has no expectation of us beyond believing that He died for our sins and rose again (John 6:28-29). In order to have value to Him, the things we do in response have to be motivated by our gratitude for what He did for us.