Belonging To God
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'” NIV
Many times in the Gospels, Jesus reminded those who followed Him that what mattered to God was the attitude of the heart. He saw around him the example set by the Pharisees who paid lip service to God but avoided doing the things that really mattered to God. In scripture, they were referred to as having “uncircumcised hearts” (Acts 7:51) or hearts that were not fully committed to the Lord.
In reminding us of these things, Jesus’ purpose was not to condemn but to plead that we keep our focus on what was really important – doing the Father’s will. We can keep the traditions, we can read our bibles, we can attend church but at the end of the day, the decisive question is whether our heart is right before God, whether we have been obedient to God. God speaks to us through His Word. He reveals His plans and purposes to us. And we need to be like Samuel, who when he heard the voice of the Lord did not let a single word of the Lord fall to the ground (1 Sam 3:19).
Matthew 7:21-23 is really quite shocking: people who did all those wonderful things – prophesy, drive out demons, perform many miracles – things that most of us today would consider the hallmark of an anointed person, were deemed “evil doers,” as not belonging to God. On the outside, they seemed to be the picture of godly men but on the inside, their hearts were not right with God. In the Living Bible (TLB) the words, “I never knew you…” are translated, “You have never been mine.” What Jesus is saying is that we are His to the extent that we do the will of His Father.
1 John 3:3-6 says, “We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”
It’s easy to dismiss Matthew 7:21-23 as not being applicable to us personally, but we all need to constantly take a reality check and examine our hearts and our ways in order to make sure that we are walking in faithfulness to God. Like David, we need to go before the Lord and say: “Search me , O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps 139:23-24).