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 as well as teaching and leading both in the local church as well as 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 them, or even to 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 really is my Lord, then I am going to 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 meeting 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.