“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.‘” (Matthew 7:21-23-continued)
Please read Part I from yesterday where this scripture was introduced. Jesus is saying that we might do many good deeds, but that is NOT what gets us into His Kingdom. His example is difficult for most of us in the US because most of us have never uttered a prophetic word, cast out a demon, laid hands on others and seen God heal, or do some creative miracle. Even if you’re in a good “charismatic” church where these things happen, you might not be doing these things in your life. (For the record, I don’t attend a church that would be considered “charismatic” but I do know very well that these things of the Bible are true and real. I’ve seen these things many times.)
Jesus’ point in saying this is that if you were going around practicing these supernatural gifts, you might feel very confident that you are a very godly person, but that in fact, you might have taken His gift and moved off in your own direction with them, serving your own desires and interests and not submitting your life to Him. There is a greater spiritual reality than simply practicing gifts. Knowing God and living in constant communion with and obedience to Him is the greatest calling, the life He calls us to, and something easy to get away from.
I think an example that might be a lot more common today would be if you are off doing good deeds. Good service projects. Doing exactly what we are called to do…helping the poor, widows, and orphans, but making this your idol. If you are doing these things and He is not calling you to them, then you might be in direct opposition to God’s will for your life. You might not. If you decide to go help the needy on a Friday night instead of going to a movie, I can’t see how that would offend God. In this case, you’re not doing the service when He is instead calling you somewhere else.
However, it is becoming more and more popular today to make the Gospel all about serving others. This is not the Gospel! The Gospel is about the life, death, and new life available in Jesus the Messiah. Yes, when you have this new life, you will be called to help others, but the Kingdom is in knowing and following Him!
I asked above if you would submit to what Jesus did? None of us have or will reach His level of perfect submission to the Father. But if we study the lives of the Apostles, we see that they poured out their lives for Jesus as He had for them…and the Kingdom of Heaven expanded rapidly. I think it’s actually easier to give yourself over to bodily death, than to moment by moment give your life to God.
But if you’ve been practicing this life for any length of time, you know that the more of your life you give over to Him, the more rewarding your life becomes and the more freedom you begin to have. This doesn’t seem logical to the human mind, but this is the reality of the spiritual life in Messiah. This however, does not make it easy to give over the next part of your life that He is calling you to release control over. Your flesh screams against Him. Tomorrow we’ll get into the rewards for doing so for your eternal life. Who do you know who could benefit from this blog?
These are difficult scriptures. I invite you to show me what I’ve missed or challenge me to go deeper. How can you and I make this better?