Not everyone who calls out to me, “Lord! Lord! will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in Heaven will enter. *On judgement day many will say to me, “Lord! Lord! We prophesied IN YOUR NAME and cast out demons IN YOUR NAME and performed many miracles IN YOUR NAME.” But I will reply, ‘I NEVER KNEW YOU. Get away from me, you who break God’s law.”
It breaks my heart and instills this immense sense of urgency to KNOW God. Not to speak AT Him, or to do things primarily in His name, but to know HIM. To enlist His wisdom in hard situations, decisions and plans. To take His command to love seriously, and to wake up each day asking “What will you teach me today?” (even though sometimes the answers scare me)
Maybe it’s out of fear. Fear of hell? Maybe. Fear of all this “hard work” I’ve (kind of) been doing, going to waste. I mostly think it’s fear of a life without God. No God= no love. No God= no purpose. And seeing that God IS life, no God= no life. All my “good deeds” are pointless if I don’t KNOW Him. And what a beautiful picture that is.
We serve a God who wants you to know Him more than He wants your actions. Imagine going to those gates and instead of hearing Him say “You didn’t donate enough, you lied too much, and you didn’t serve others enough, you may not enter.” He says, “You lived a great life. You improved the lives of many! You’re one of my most self-sacrificing creations, always loving and including others. You tied my name to it all, but I don’t remember ever hearing from you. I’ve wanted to know you completely for so long, but you never returned to me. I gave you any opportunity I could think of, but you ignored every one of them. I’m sorry to say it, but I don’t know you. And since whoever is not for me is against me, I’m pained to say there is another spot for you somewhere else.”
It sounds awful, it really does. But think of the opposite conversation He could have with you.. “You had a rough go down there! I could see that you were being attacked from all sides, and my most favourite part of our story is when you called on me for help. You didn’t know if I was real, but you asked for me, specifically, and did I ever take delight in helping you, my beloved. And from that moment, you invited me in, you wanted me there with you. Yes, you had your moments, you still struggled with some things, but you knew where your strength was coming from to get through it. And when you spoke to others about me, oh, I was so proud. You could confidently tell them about me, and you were so right, too! And how? Because you knew me. And although there were things you couldn’t understand about me, you still sang my name. And now, my most beloved Child, you may know me completely.”
That verse has always scared me, but for good reasons. To spend my entire life doing what I think are good things, only to walk up to Jesus and hear Him say “I don’t know you, get away from me.” For a long time it didn’t make sense. How could a good, loving God say that to His child? I guess it just puts it into perspective how much He desires a relationship with us above our good deeds.
I guess we as humans are the same way, interestingly enough. I personally don’t know anyone who has a best friend that they never speak to. We can bump into someone that we used to know and catch up on old times, old memories, old..old..old. But if we don’t maintain those relationships, that’s all it stays.. old. God’s got a fresh new page for us just waiting to be devoured every single morning, but it’s up to us to turn the pages. The good thing about God though, is that even as forgetful and lazy and unmotivated as we get, He’s still there, totally ready to work with us. My cry to you is to turn the page today. Now. Don’t let yourself get to the gate, and have an ever loving God stare blankly at you saying “I never knew you”. Empty. Ah, makes me feel so empty.
With Strength that is not my own, Sam