"By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his 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. "
I Corinthians 3.10-13
I've always been taught that this verse was about the Judgment Seat of Christ, the moment of truth, when we are all judged for our deeds in life, good and bad. I always cringed at the thought of being judged by what I had actually done with my life. When the judgment day came my plan was to duck and run, bob and weave, fake left go right, RUN FOR COVER!!! I always had this sense of incredible fear at the thought of God's judgment. I even got a tattoo related to my fear of judgment. I got the Kanji symbol for the word MERCY tattooed on the back of my neck. When people asked I told them, "When I bow before the seat of judgment I just want to give the Lord a friendly reminder to have mercy on me."
Then my thinking on the judgment of God changed. I meditated on that scripture passage and started seeing it in a different light. What it's saying is that the fire of judgment will test all of our works. The things that are good, the things that have everlasting value, those things will last. The things that were bad, the things that only had temporal value; those things will be consumed by the judgment fire. So if the judgment burns up all the things that are bad and only leaves behind all that was good then God's judgment is an act of mercy. What a merciful act to take away all the things that we are ashamed of! My thinking has changed 100%. I went from being deathly afraid of God's judgment, to looking forward to the day when all that is left is the "good stuff", the things of eternal value.
So, since I've been thinking of God's judgment as an act of mercy I've also been thinking of how I could change my tattoo. I no longer felt like I needed to cower at the Judgment Seat. I felt thankful for the promise that all the things that didn't have eternal value would be burnt away. I went to my tattoo artist the other day and had him put flames all around the Kanji of the word "Mercy", symbolizing for me that the Judgment Fire of God is the most merciful thing that we could hope for.