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 . . . —1 Corinthians 3:12-13
How do we know whether our own individual superstructure is comprised of gold, silver, and costly stones?
First, our application of teaching. We must first understand it. Then we must receive it for ourselves. Thereafter, we must make it change us.
Second, our approach to temptation. What do we do when we are tempted? Maybe we are going to face real temptation, but it is up to us whether we resist it or succumb to it.
Third, our attitude toward trials. We cannot avoid trials. Jesus said, "In this world you will have trouble" (John 16:33). As Christians we will face trouble and trials, perhaps even worse than we have known before. Our attitude toward trials will often largely determine what comprises our superstructure. You can look at trials as God's invitation on a silver platter to move up higher, or you can discredit it, show contempt for the trial, and after it is over be no better off because you refused to dignify it.
There is a fourth way of finding out what you are made of, and it is probably the main one: our ability with the tongue. In Matthew 12:36-37, Jesus described the day of judgment:
But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.
That does not refer to whether you are saved or lost, because in the context the person has already been assumed to be saved. Here He is talking about our words. What you and I actually say will in all probability be what gets us into trouble and will grieve the Holy Spirit. I guarantee you, gold, silver, and costly stones will be our own superstructure largely to the degree to which you and I control our tongues.
Excerpted from When God Says "Well Done!" (Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 1993).