Someone once asked me why she should be like Jesus now since she would become like Him when she got to heaven (1 John 3:1-3). Great question! Especially when it’s easier to just be yourself.

Actually, there are several reasons why becoming like Him now is important, but one is near the top. When we see and stand before Him, we will give an account as to whether or not we lived in ways that were consistent with His will. Or, as Paul put it, whether or not we have built on Him as our foundation with “gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, [or] straw” (1 Cor. 3:12-13).

All that we do to advance His kingdom—things like contribute to the strength of His church, serve the poor and needy, and promote righteousness and justice as He did—is like building with essential materials that will survive the fire of His judgment. On the contrary, building with things that reflect our fallen ways, and living to advance ourselves and our earthly desires are commodities that will turn into a pile of ashes before the consuming fire of His glory.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather love Jesus enough to live like Him now, for the thought of standing before Him in a heap of ashes is an unthinkable alternative.