ABCS Weekly Devotional: Knowing God

Weekly Devotion from Extravagant Mercy, written by M. Craig Barnes

Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord shall enter the kingdom of heaven but he who does the will of my father who is in heaven. – Matthew 7:21

Read Matthew 7:21-23

If this were all Jesus had said, it would provide what we expected from him. We expect him to say that it is not enough to call ourselves followers of Christ. The real issue is what we are doing. Yet as we read on in the text we discover that Jesus also rejects those who are doing some pretty impressive things: “Many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ And I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.”

If it isn’t what we say, and it isn’t what we do, then what is the criterion for entering the kingdom? Apparently, the people who enter the kingdom are those who Jesus knows.

Living as a Christian is not a matter of what you do or say, but of what God has done. In Jesus, he has come to know you. The Pharisees knew tons of theology and they did all they could to be righteous, but they rejected Jesus because he claimed to embody God’s gift of a relationship. It is possible to hide behind our religion as a way of avoiding a personal encounter with God, who wants most of all just to know us. Never settle for just knowing about God, when it is possible actually to know God.