Let’s face a fact. Most of you reading these words are unknown to me and I’m not really known by you. That is simply the nature of this kind of ministry. But let’s be real, how many people do we really know and at what level?
There’s a spectrum of knowing beginning with the simple thing of simply knowing that someone exists (or existed) to that of fully knowing their thoughts, feelings, likes, dislikes, pet peeves, secret hurts, and hidden hopes. Now, whether you really know me (and I you) doesn’t diminish what you may glean from these words. But there is one person for which it makes all the difference.
In Jesus’ sermon on the mount (Matthew 5:1 – 7:29) there is a section near the end where He talks about false prophets. Jesus first identifies these false folks as wolves in sheep’s clothing. He then teaches that we can tell who they are by their fruit (Matthew 7:15-20) with the observation that a good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree has bad fruit. Or to put it another way, if the fruit is good then the tree is good. Jesus then says, ““Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’” (Matthew 7:21–23, NASB95)
Jesus points out two characteristics that determine entrance to Christ’s kingdom. Do you see them? The first is doing the will of the Father. The second is knowing Jesus. Did you notice what doesn’t matter? It didn’t matter that they called Jesus Lord or that they prophesied, cast out demons, or worked miracles. But what is the will of the Father? How do we know what that is? It’s a common question that often lands in my email inbox.
Let’s make this simple. You discover God’s will in the same way you do with any other person – through listening, investing time, and asking questions. Knowing someone requires that we invest ourselves in that person. We give them our most precious asset – time. We give them our attention and fully listen to what they have to say. There is no shortcut here. To know God’s will you have to get to know Jesus and He you. We often miss that last part. Jesus didn’t say “you didn’t know me” but that “I never knew you.”
This knowing business is a two-way street. Jesus doesn’t want you to just know about Him, He wants to know you. Now, on one level He already does. But there is a deeper level where we share with Jesus our story, our heart, our fears, our desires, our likes, our dislikes, our secret hurts, and our hidden hopes. It may be cliché and trite but following Jesus isn’t about doing religion it is about living in a relationship.
Is your fruit good? Are you doing the will of the Father as He has revealed it to you? Do you know Jesus? Does Jesus know you?