“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” [Matthew 7:21 ESV]
Becoming Christ-like, being an authentic Christian as Jesus modeled is a process. It requires us to ignore the temptation of basing our faith on what we do and not on how we act. Doing so is a deception. A solid rock foundation is preferred over a foundation of sand. Building our hope of being acceptable to God based on our success in our career or how well we do ministry is a foundation of sand. Jesus makes that abundantly clear. There is a storm coming that will test the substance of all our works. In the final analysis, when all our worldly things are stripped away and we are left with nothing but our souls, will we be found to be hypocrites; to be Christian in name only?
The world is full of shams. Counterfeit money is on the rise. Let us take heed against a counterfeit faith within ourselves and in the ministry we do. It reveals itself by being self-indulgence. It begins on a primrose path of accolades and success and ends in an uncharted wilderness. Here is the supreme test. The one test of them all is in the fruit that our works bear. Jesus met that test. Had He sought his own praise among men, He would have said, ‘it is enough that you mention My name when you do ministry.’ The faith He came to establish is in power, not just in words said in passing to put certain legitimacy on what is being done. Think about it. Can you imagine God, who knows our hearts would be fooled by such show? Compliments among men are returned with compliments. When we use Lord, Lord in prayer but inward faith is not reflected by outward expressions, we are but as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. Hear me correctly. I am not saying that we should not pray earnestly Lord, Lord and be bold in professing Christ’s name. What I am saying is that we need to continually check our hearts and not be resting on name dropping [even in prayer]; is this not a form of godliness, without the power?
Now this is His will, that we love God and our neighbor with all our heart, mind, body and soul. The problem is that the hypocrite in me would much rather offer other things in lieu of obedience. It is much easier to use Jesus’ name to serve my purpose. That “in Your name Jesus we have cast out devils?” That may be true; Judas cast out devils, and yet was a son of perdition. Secret haunts of sin, kept under the cloak of a visible and holy-sounding profession will eventually be called out in the open under the scandal of hypocrisy.
“They that would not come to Him to be saved, must depart from Him to be damned … Those that go no further in Christ’s service than a bare profession, He does not accept, nor will He own them in the great day.” [Matthew Henry] There is a good saying among the rabbi’s on this subject. “A man should be as vigorous as a panther, as swift as an eagle, as fleet as a stag, and as strong as a lion, to do the will of his Creator.”