“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!'”
These words have weighted heavily on my mind for many years. I have been terrified that when I stand before a Holy God and look to Jesus to save me, he will say to me, “I never knew you.” Oftentimes, I would skim over this verse and try to distract myself to something else so I wouldn’t have to think about it anymore. I think our culture teaches us that distraction is the name of the game. If we are worried about where we are going to spend eternity, we should distract ourselves so we don’t have to worry about it anymore.
Friends, I don’t want this distraction to rule my life or your lives. Satan wants us to think that we have all the time in the world to get our lives right and have assurance of our eternity. The truth of the matter is, we don’t know when our time will be up. This world is filled with uncertainty and our lives are very fragile things. We could be gone in an instant. I am sure that all of us know people who have died very young or stories where people died in an instant that were otherwise perfectly healthy. I think we know in our hearts that our time on earth is fleeting, yet we get sucked into the ways of the world and allow ourselves to be distracted from our ultimate mission here.
Jesus’s last words to his disciples were:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
According to Jesus, our mission here is to go and make disciples of all nations. We are to spend our lives glorifying God by telling others about Him. Nothing else matters. We get so sucked in to our lives that we are not fulfilling the great commission that Jesus set before us. Satan is feeding us with lies and filling our churches with hesitation and distraction. Sunday mornings are spent discussing sporting events in the fellowship hall instead of spurring each other on to fulfill our life’s purpose.
Here is where when Jesus says, “I never knew you,” is so convicting. We don’t truly know Jesus if we aren’t fulfilling what he told us to do. We can’t truly know Jesus if we are not in The Word and praying for guidance over our lives. My life is not supposed to be lived so that I can be as comfortable as I can be and enjoy all the things I want to enjoy. My life is here so that I can tell others the good news that I know and help others be able to spend an eternity with our Father.
How will Jesus know us? I think he knows us when we are faithful to his commands. When we follow what he is teaching us and have him be the focal point of our lives instead of our own desires. Oftentimes we try to make Jesus a compartment in our lives instead of the focal point. We can’t truly know Jesus if we are serving ourselves. Francis Chan sums it up nicely in his book, Multiply:
“The problem is, many in the church want to “confess that Jesus is Lord,” yet they don’t believe that He is their master. Do you see the obvious contradiction in this? The call to be a disciple of Jesus Christ is open to everyone, but we don’t get to write our own job description. If Jesus is Lord, then He sets the agenda. If Jesus Christ is Lord, then your life belongs to Him. He has a plan, agenda, and calling for you. You don’t get to tell Him what you’ll be doing today or for the rest of your life.”
When we know Jesus, we know that we serve Him. The apostle, Paul, calls himself a slave to God all over the New Testament. This is what our lives should look like. Our lives are not our own, we were bought at a price. Jesus’ blood paid the price for our sin and for that we should be eternally grateful. Our gratitude should spill out into all areas of our life and we should live as slaves to Jesus’s plan for us.
I want to be careful in saying all this because I don’t want it to be thought that we need good works to be saved. All we need is Jesus to be saved. He died on the cross for our sin and all we are to do is rest in Him for our entire lives. When we are resting in Him, we will find that we want to do His will and follow Him. That is how we stay connected to Him. We obey His commands and when we go out of our comfort zones to obey Him, we can feel His presence firmly in our lives.
This isn’t the most pleasant topic area because the fact of the matter is a life of eternity whether eternal life with God or eternal separation from God are hard to fathom. We can’t fully grasp the weight of that, so we think about other things. I would encourage you to spend some time thinking about where you are going to spend eternity and how you are living your life. Would Jesus be able to say that he knew you? Are we giving our entire selves to Jesus or are we offering Him a compartment? These are questions that need to be answered in all of our lives.