Matthew 7:21–23 (NIV)
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one 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 in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”
This is a portrait of people who are shocked at being rejected—the damned surprised, so to speak. The problem is that they look like Christians. They look like super-Christians. That’s why people call this the scariest verse in the Bible.
“I never knew you?? What does that mean? He knows everyone. I was taught many things about Christ, but no one said that the key was simply knowing Him. Why didn’t anyone teach me about that?”
Fair enough. So, what is it that these “super-Christians” did wrong? What is it they didn’t say?
Well, picture this:
Boss: Did you finish the Benson report?
Me: No, but I performed many wonders in your name.
Boss: Okay, but I need that Benson report ASAP.
The super-Christians didn’t say, “We did what you asked us to do.” They’re not the one who does the will of my Father. They did what they wanted to do, and frankly it sounds like a bunch of showing off.
So, are we that bad? We don’t do those fancy super-Christian parlor tricks.
Possibly. It depends on whether we’re seeking His will. Many Christians spend their whole lives in prayer and never say a single prayer that’s a question. There are other ways to seek His will for our lives, but sometimes prayers sound like could begin with the words, “Dear Santa Claus.” Anyone with a relationship like that with the Lord, is missing out.
Jesus saying, “I never knew you,” is like your boss saying, “You never came into my office. All I got from you was emails asking for favors.”
Don’t get me wrong. It’s okay to ask for favors, even seemingly selfish ones. In fact, we’re commanded to lay our requests before Him. He even promised to grant them.
“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” — John 15:7 (NIV)
It’s just that supplication isn’t the only kind of prayer. Other kinds include adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and seeking His will. Not all prayers must have all five kinds, but some should.
You can ask for favors but, as the commercials used to say, “as a part of a complete breakfast.”
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