When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 1 Corinthians 13:11 Many of us became Christians for childish reasons. We just wanted to go to heaven. That is okay. Jesus tells us to come as children, but He does not tell us to stay like children. “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we [henceforth] be no more children…” Ephesians 4:13-14 In 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, the love chapter, Paul tells us that, regarding love, he used to think like a child. Children obey when there is a reward involved. But as Paul grew and became a man, he put those childish motivations away, and his love developed into a mature, agape love. Immature Christians may offer their body to be burned or martyred for the reward involved, but a mature agape Christian will do it purely out of love. A mature agape Christian loves and obeys because Christ first loved us.
“It is not the fear of punishment, or the hope of everlasting reward, that leads the disciples of Christ to follow Him. They behold the Saviour’s matchless love, revealed throughout His pilgrimage on earth, from the manger of Bethlehem to Calvary’s cross, and the sight of Him attracts, it softens and subdues the soul. Love awakens in the heart of the beholders. They hear His voice, and they follow Him.” (Ellen White, Desire of Ages, p. 480)
In the church today, some people will say they are not worried about a certain standard because it is not a “salvation issue.” That may be so, but wouldn’t we be selfish and un-Christian to concern ourselves only with things that relate to our own personal salvation? What about concerning ourselves with glorifying God, rather than just our own salvation? In Exodus 32:1-10, the children of Israel worship a golden calf, and God threatens to wipe them out and to raise up a people named after Moses. However, Moses intercedes and tells God if He does this, it will give Him a bad name. “Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, ‘For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth?’” Exodus 32:12 Moses even goes so far as to say, “Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin – and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.” Exodus 32:32 Moses is more interested in honoring God’s reputation than he is in his own salvation! Moses has grown up from “salvation issues” to “glorifying God issues.” Revelation 15:2-4 speaks of an entire multitude in the last days who “sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb.” Many songs are about stories or experiences. What experience do Moses and the Lamb have in common? Like Moses, Jesus the Lamb was willing to say goodbye to life forever if that’s what it took to honor the Father. “The Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb.” (Ellen White, Desire of Ages, p. 753) In Revelation 15 an entire multitude have matured from thinking only of their own personal salvation issues, to glorifying God issues. Glorifying God is more important to them than their own salvation. A flower girl comes to a wedding all prepared and ready. She is prepared and ready for the cake and punch that comes after the service. The bride has made herself ready, not for the cake and punch, but for the groom. We may come to Jesus like a flower girl all excited about the cake and punch, golden streets and mansions, but let’s grow up into a bride who cares about the Groom. We love Jesus not for the cake and punch, golden streets and mansion. We love Him because He first loved us.