In Matthew 7, Jesus is talking to a crowd when He tells them that even though there will be people who cast out demons and prophesy in His name, He’ll say to them “I never knew you.”
This seems rather harsh, doesn’t it? Because I don’t know about you, but I’ve never cast out a demon or performed a miracle—so if they can’t make it, what good am I?
Jesus, however, wasn’t saying that you had to do those things to make it to Heaven. He wasn’t even saying you had to do more than that. He said you need to know Him. And I can tell you from experience that you can do a lot of things in the name of Jesus without actually knowing Him.
I don’t want to get to the end of my life and realize I spent time on doing things for God but not actually knowing Him at all. I don’t want to realize one day that all the work I did will be burned up because it was self-serving instead of God-honoring.
Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.’
—Matthew 7:21-23 MSG
I’m going to completely, 100% transparent with you. That verse terrifies me. Because if I’m honest, I know that I’ve missed the boat before. I know that sometimes I’ve let the idea of being a good person equate being a person who actually knows God intimately. I have, at times, used God to make myself important. Not anymore.
I’m choosing private, unseen surrender over publicly applauded artificial service. I’d rather have no one ever know my name than realizing I never actually knew the only Name worth knowing.
Whether you’ve been a Christian for a few months or a few decades, I pray that you will find Him again. I pray you’ll surrender everything, even if it means losing everything but Jesus. It’s worth it, I promise.