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The Mark of a Real Disciple of Jesus?

Matthew 7:21-23

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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 NIV

There are many people in the world today who call Jesus ‘Lord,’ and many of them are active within the church or in other ‘Christian’ ways. I count myself among them, claiming Jesus as Lord and teaching and leading both in the local church and locally in the denomination. But how does Jesus feel about me?

The passage quoted above makes it clear that saying and doing the right things is not enough. He makes clear that many who claim he is Lord and who are actively involved within their local church (performing miracles, driving out demons, and prophesying) are only fooling themselves. While they may claim Jesus, he is unwilling to claim or even know them.

What Makes a Person a Disciple of Jesus?

So, what is it that Jesus is looking for in his disciples? What is the mark of a real disciple? He is looking for those that are doing what God wants them to do. If Jesus is my Lord, I will follow his direction and go where he goes. If I don’t, but instead go where I want, and do what I think is best, then it really does not matter what I call him; he is not my Lord.

I might think that having a bunch of jobs in the church, tithing, reading my Bible every day, and going to prayer meetings would be enough to make Jesus like me. But it is not. I don’t believe there is anything wrong with any of that. But they are no substitute for a real relationship with Jesus. He wants your heart, not your resume.

Don’t just call Jesus Lord. Let him be Lord. Learn to listen to him and be responsive to his direction. Don’t make the mistake of replacing real discipleship with religious activity. The consequences are dire.

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Ed Jarrett

Just an old clay jar that God continues to see fit to use in his kingdom's work. I am retired, married with 2 children, and 4 grandchildren. I have followed Jesus for many years. And I love to share what He has given me from His word.

A Note to Readers

The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.

2 thoughts on “The Mark of a Real Disciple of Jesus? – Matthew 7:21-23”

  1. …being a new-old Christian, I’m at a loss as to defining what’s what. I’ve had several startups at being a Christian & have always been a believer. But I’ve never been a disciple, so that direction is a new thing to me. I’ve started reading the bible, but as it is written… that won’t get me a relationship with Jesus.

    Now, I have a good Bible & a good, but struggling Church (poor music program) & I go to learn & enjoy the message.

    • Reading the Bible and connecting with a local community of believers is important. But making what you read a part of your life is what discipleship is about. And that is what we are expected to do.


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