Living for Jesus

“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!’” (Matthew 7:21-23)

Our Lord gives us an important red flag in these verses: It is not by our words, however religious or pious they may sound, or by our works, however righteous, gracious or good they may appear, that we secure a right relationship with Him. It is only by His grace that our hearts are changed as we freely relinquish our will into His hands. Anything ultimately good done in a life is from Jesus. We can call Jesus “Lord” all day long, and perhaps even use His great name for the miraculous, yet remain hardened in our hearts and estranged from Him. Scripture gives us an example of this in Acts:

“Now this is His will, that we believe in Christ, that we repent of sin, that we live a holy life, and that we love one another. This is His will, even our sanctification.” -Matthew Henry

Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding. (Acts 19:13-16)

When one calls Jesus “Lord,” yet consistently does not do what He says, is He really their “Lord”?

“Sanctification is a life of Christ-centered choices, made evident in loving obedience to God.”
-Mel De Peal

Our outward expressions and acts of pride, particularly for personal gain, do not equate to obedience. Anyone can say “Lord,” but that does not make Jesus such if we staunchly refuse to make Him our Master. Unless we know Jesus through a personal relationship, we have no part in the Kingdom of God. Jesus said:

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46)

Do we really think we can fool Him? God knows the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts. We hide nothing from Him! Our resistance in allowing Him to be the Master of our lives only brings us harm.

Living for Jesus a life that is true, Striving to please Him in all that I do; Yielding allegiance, glad-hearted and free, This is the pathway of blessing for me. O Jesus, Lord and Savior, I give myself to Thee, For Thou, in Thy atonement Didst give Thyself for me; I own no other Master, My heart shall be Thy throne, My life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ, for Thee alone. Living for Jesus who died in my place, Bearing on Calv’ry my sin and disgrace; Such love constrains me to answer His call, Follow His leading and give Him my all. Living for Jesus wherever I am, Doing each duty in His holy name; Willing to suffer affliction and loss, Deeming each trial a part of my cross. Living for Jesus through earth’s little while, My dearest treasure, the light of His smile; Seeking the lost ones He died to redeem, Bringing the weary to find rest in Him. (Hymn: “Living for Jesus”
by Thomas O. Chisholm)

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:13)

God, who surely has our best interest at heart, knows and loves us completely. He can certainly be fully trusted with our lives and with the lives of those we love. He seeks broken and contrite hearts that are willing to look up and take Him at His Word. He desires and deserves our total trust. King David tells us:

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Psalm 51:17)

God is not looking for an outward, ritualistic relationship with His children. He desires an inward obedience, as our desire, not as a burden. Micah gives us a wonderfully succinct definition of God’s requirements for His children:

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)

Our loving of mercy demonstrates a proper humility before God!

Take It to Heart

“Never be afraid to live for Jesus. Never be ashamed to live for Jesus. Never be apatheticin living for Jesus. Be committed.” (Anne Graham Lotz)