“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven. . . .”
Out of the entire Sermon on the Mount, this might be the most challenging of Jesus’ teachings.
The wide gate and the broad road are full of people who have rejected God and have gone their own way (Matthew 6:13). But there are also people on that road who think they are right with the Lord—people who, from the outside, appear to be doing all the right things. But it can turn out that they’ve actually been far from Christ all along.
The most important thing about us isn’t how many times we have gone to church. It’s not how much money we have given or how often we have volunteered. We’re not saved because we avoid R-rated movies or do not steal.
Instead, the most important thing is knowing, and being known by, Jesus. This means losing our lives in him and putting our agenda aside so that we can honestly say, “Not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). People who try to follow Jesus from a distance risk his rejection because he demands our whole hearts and our whole selves.
If that doesn’t make you a little nervous, it should. Jesus is calling everyone, both in and outside of the church, to do some self-examination: Is my faith genuine? Am I on the right path? Do I really know him? And does he really know me?
Father, I place my whole life in your hands. Help me to know you, and to be known by you. Show me where I may be holding back, and help me to serve you wholeheartedly in all I do. Amen.