Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Higher Ground"1 (Lyrics)
When I was growing up, there were two groups of kids in my neighbourhood: those older than me and those younger. There weren't any kids the same age as me. If I played sports or games with the younger kids, I was always the leader, and I got to pick a team. When I played with the older kids, I was usually picked last. I accepted that. When some of the older kids played with some of the younger kids, some of them didn't get picked at all. Can you imagine not getting picked?
Matthew 7:21-23 – Not everyone who says to Me, "Lord, Lord," shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?" And then I will declare to them, "I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!" (NKJV)
Judgement Day! Now that's a time when you don't want to not get picked. There are no second chances. The Message puts it more bluntly.
Matthew 7:21-23 – 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 Judgement 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." (MSG)
This passage tells us several things. Firstly, not everyone who says or thinks that he or she is a Christian is going to get into heaven — and that's sad. Secondly, we are expected to do the will of God. How many times does the Bible tell us to repent? Repent doesn't just mean being sorry for our sins; it also means turning from them. Thirdly, Jesus wants to have a personal relationship with us. "I never knew you" tells us that.
So how do we have a relationship with Him? How do we have a relationship with anybody? We talk to them and listen to them; we spend time with them. In the case of Jesus, we talk to Him in prayer, we listen to Him by reading His Word, the Bible, and we obey Him. "If you love Me, keep My commandments", He said. (John 14:15 NKJV)
Seeing that you're reading this, the good news is that it's not too late! Start today, and make a habit of talking to the Lord in prayer and reading and heeding His Word every day, or as close to every day as you can get. Being "too busy" is not good enough. But don't wait, because when you leave this earth, it's too late.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your Word and for wanting to have a relationship with us. Help us to remember to further our relationship with You, each and every day. In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.