“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-23
Prophesy, casting out demons, mighty works…all in the name of Jesus…. but this wasn’t the will of the Father because Jesus never knew those who did these works. Do you know Jesus? Better yet, does Jesus know you? Serving in His name, without an intimate relationship with Him is lawlessness.
“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:14-15
I have read a couple of books that really challenged my Christianity – Crazy Love by Frances Chan and Radical by David Platt. I’ve had to examine my life to see if I have just given lip service to what I believe. I’ve been challenged by Bible study leaders and pastors to read through the entire Bible – to KNOW the word of God and to study His word so that I can know Him better. God’s Word is challenging. Examining my life in light of scripture not only reveals my sinful nature but it reveals my savior and His will. One Christian speaker that I listened to stated that she had gotten to a point where she was just plain tired of “playing church”. She was ready to LIVE it. It required that she make some major changes in her life – including finding a new church. Living out God’s commands, taking His word seriously, changing her life to be in line with Holy Scripture. I want that. God’s ways are the most excellent ways for us to live. Who wouldn’t want that? God’s ways are also frequently counter-cultural. Are you ready for that? Are you willing to let go of material things? Are you ready for your friends to think you’ve completely lost it?
The question became – ARE YOU LIVING IT? I know Jesus and Jesus knows me – that part was easy. But God has more for me than just Sunday morning church. More for me to LEARN, more for me to SEE, more for me to DO, more for me to BE. He won’t force me to follow and seek after Him. I (like Joshua) must choose to do so, I must desire to do so. I must free myself (with God’s help and guidance) from this culture and these material things that weigh me down – allowing Him to prune away all that isn’t necessary for service to Him, which can be painful. I must learn from, and release, my past and trust my future into the sovereign hands of Jesus. I have little to offer except all of who I am and I am learning that He will multiply my meek efforts and magnify Himself in the process. I pray that I can serve Him in sincerity and faithfulness for His glory.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
Be encouraged. Press on.