These sobering words of Jesus jolt me from my complacency.
Not everyone who says Jesus is their Lord, not everyone who invokes the name of Jesus to casts out demons, not everyone who performs miracles in Jesus’ name will enter the kingdom of heaven.
In every generation, there are people who say they follow Jesus, but actually, they don’t. Some of these individuals will even demonstrate incredible power. Yet, Jesus says these people won’t live with God in eternity. Jesus will deny ever knowing them.
You see, asking Jesus to come into your life and change you actually changes you. So real faith goes beyond words. True followers are characterized by obedience. Jesus says that only those who do the will of the Father will enter God’s kingdom.
Later, when talking about the final judgment, Jesus gave His disciples a clear picture of what He meant —
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me…Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:35-36, 40).
Followers of Jesus love as Jesus loved. Unconcerned about social status, they treat destitute and incarcerated people with dignity and compassion. Unafraid of getting dirty, they help sick, disabled, and displaced people.
Jesus, I want to be in your kingdom. Let me not be deceived, thinking I can ask you to be my Lord, but carrying on doing whatever I want and never truly surrendering to you. Forgive me. Give me your love for everyone I meet. Amen.
Go Deeper — Look up “lord” in the dictionary. Take some time to think about the definition and write down what must change in order for Jesus to truly be “Lord” of your life.
Read Further — Serving God by Serving Others, a good article by Rick Warren.
Photo Credit: Tyler Lastovich