Going through the motions. Doing for the sake of getting it done. Commitment because it is the right thing to do. This can be what describes many in how they practice their Christianity. From the outside, it looks moral, right and godly. Yet it be what Jesus calls whitewashed tombs with dead man’s bones within, because there is no life in it. Matt 23:26-28.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matt 7:21-23
Jesus is speaking to believers of God. You, me, the pastor down the street, the missionary next door – may this sink in to our prideful minds! These are people who are on Team Jesus. Yet they did not make His mark. What was it that they missed? I believe that what Jesus spoke here is our key:
Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:
‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”
When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear and understand: Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” Matt 15:7-11
I see such complexity among the Christian crowd. So much hopelessness, fear, worry that is their unspoken testimony – yet they are committed and speak the name of Christ. Upon scrutiny, you will see that they are ones who are looking from the outside in. They are living from without and expect to gain what The Kingdom of God promises us that can only be found from within. Luke 17:2.
All too easily and often, counsel is given to those who live defeated and struggling lives in ‘fixing’ the said problem with a list of to do’s. All perhaps good and spiritually sound advice, but wrong. For no matter what they do, or how much diligence and commitment they give, it is not going to further them ahead at all. What is the answer? To be known by God. How does one attain this? It is by His Spirit, within us that this can only be accomplished. His Kingdom is brought into us – then, we interact in His Kingdom, with Him – where we become known by Him. We give to Him, we receive from Him. What can we give? We have only one thing that He wants from us – our lives, past, present and future. We give to Him the only thing we own, our very lives. He then in turn gives to us, Himself. In Him, we then are able to experience the life He promises us. In His Kingdom, He promises us righteousness, peace and joy; Romans 14:17, which is a far cry from what many are plagued with today who say they are in the Kingdom of God. The defining rule is that this is not a mere one-time thing, pledge of allegiance but is instead a daily practice. Jesus explains the interaction very well:
“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. Matt 16:24
Do we really know Jesus? Does He know us? Let us some time of introspection so we not be counted in the hearing of these words:
‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matt 7:23.