But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Matthew 7:23 (NLT)
There are a few places in the New Testament that Jesus says things like today’s text. Sometimes like in the parable of the 10 virgins, they weren’t ready and he said it. There are other places where people say “But, we did this for you and that for you.” Almost like they deserve to go to heaven for their actions.
When I read these texts and hear Jesus say “Go away, I never knew you.” I shudder. It makes me determined to “know him.” And in my humanness, I then try to do more because that is how I am wired. I’m thinking I am not alone in this line of thinking.
Don’t get me wrong. The Bible is full of things we are supposed to do. We are supposed to go, serve and love. There are a lot more. Being a Christian is not an idle task. It’s a way of life that is full of activity. What gets us hung up is the motive behind the activity. We cannot earn our way to heaven. That is a done deal sealed with the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. What God wants is a relationship with us.
What does that look like? It looks like communicating with him in prayer. It looks like spending time in the Bible and listening for his voice. It looks like lingering in his presence. It also looks like doing (obedience). Obedience to what he is telling you to do. And, it looks like surrender. Letting go of our stuff to have more of his stuff.
This weekend, I started looking at this text in a slightly different way. I imagined coming up to Jesus and having him point at me and say in a really loud voice “I KNOW YOU!” I imagined running to him and jumping into his arms and sobbing with joy at the sound of those three words.
Can you imagine it? There would be nothing better. Ever.