Performing for God
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one 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 in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” — Matthew 7:21 – 23
To me, these are the scariest words that came out of the mouth of Jesus Christ. I absolutely cannot read these words without doing an evaluation of my heart. I have read this passage many times. I used to focus on how cool those miracles were that were performed. I mean, driving out demons and performing miracles sounds pretty awesome. If I saw someone do that, I would definitely think they had it going on. However, as I read it today, one word sticks out … perform. Even for the hard core King James person, the word is “done.” Let’s simplify the passage to this: Many will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not perform well enough for you? Did we not ‘do’ enough? Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers.”
I don’t know how many years I spent trying to perform for God. I would have told Him something like this: “God, didn’t I go to church every week? Didn’t I play on the worship team? Wasn’t I on the leadership team at my church? Didn’t I read through the Bible? Didn’t I put money in the offering plate? Didn’t I preach enough times in the pulpit? Didn’t I write devotionals on Wednesday mornings for people to read and hopefully learn more about you?” Even reading this list now, it seems to me that I would have “done” enough to be fairly confident on the day that I stand before Him. However, God isn’t into performances…He’s into “knowing.”
The reason for sending the people away was not that they didn’t “do” enough, it was simply that Jesus did not know them. He had no relationship with them. They obviously loved what the name of Jesus could “do” for them, but did not love the person who owned the name. This forces me to change my line of questioning. I must ask this question and this question only: What evidence do I have that I know Jesus? I don’t get to use ANY of the stuff I mentioned in the above paragraph. It has nothing to do with what I do for Him, it has everything to do with ‘knowing’ and being intimate with Him.
I often hear people tell me that they need to get back to “doing” things for God. I used to agree with them, but now I don’t. Think about this: If you did everything you thought you should do for God, would He really be impressed? Would the God of Heaven really clap His hands for you? I doubt it. I’m not saying it’s impossible. I mean, Jesus left Heaven in Daniel chapter 3 for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s “stand” for the Lord. Jesus stood up for Stephen in Acts 7:54-55. But the thing is…these guys weren’t performing for God, they were simply in love with Him and His ways. To them, dying was great gain. All that stuff that I mentioned, and all that stuff the people mentioned in Matthew 7 can be glorified by people. People come up to me and tell me sometimes after I play or preach ”Adam…YOU did great!” If I could add a little “prophesying in His Name, driving out demons, and performing miracles,” I might just be able to get me a Television ministry and raise millions and millions of dollars…all in His Name! The thing is…Jesus could not care less about any of that stuff. He wants to know the answer to one question and one question only…Do you know Me? You don’t get back to ‘doing’ things for God, you simply spend time with Him because you want to be in His Presence. You spend time with Him because you want more of Him.
I say all of that to ask this question: If you claim to be a Christian, what evidence do you have that you really know Him? Are you performing for Him? Or, are you in love with Him?