Skip to main content

The Characteristic of a True Disciple

21"Not all people who sound religious are really godly. They may refer to me as `Lord,' but they still won't enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The decisive issue is whether they obey my Father in heaven. 22On judgment day many will tell me, `Lord, Lord, we prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.' 23But I will reply, `I never knew you. Go away; the things you did were unauthorized'" (Matthew 7:21-23; NLT).

I find this teaching of Jesus quite interesting. The point Jesus is making here is that not everyone who refers to Him as Lord is a Christian. This is pretty easy to understand because we are witness to numerous people who make a claim to be Christians, but their lives reflect a very different lifestyle.

Some people understand the Truth, it makes sense to them, but somewhere in their lives there is a disconnect. The truth which makes sense in the mind never makes it to their hearts. While they agree with what Jesus says their lives are never changed.

That is not what I find interesting about this teaching, because that is the obvious application to what Jesus is saying. To truly be a Christian requires more than verbal acknowledgement. It also requires obedience to God's will.

What I find interesting are the activities these false disciples were doing. They were proclaiming a word from God (prophesying), casting out demons, and performing miracles. In my mind these would be signs that they had a close relationship with God. If a person could do those things it would seem that they were the genuine article. Yet it seem Jesus has a different understanding. Jesus wants us to understand that these things are not necessarily evidence for a true disciple.

I don't know how it is possible to fake such things without having a relationship with God, but I do know that it is easy to fake the public side of ministry. It is easy for me to wow people with a great sermon, to write words that reflect Biblical teachings, and to have a "correct" theology to make the people at church believe that I know my Bible. It is possible to go through ministry without real faith in God.

Real faith makes us step out of our comfort zone to do the things that need to be done. Real faith seeks to make changes in our lives so sin is no longer our master. Real faith is seen in our behavior. What makes a person a Christian is not a flourishing public ministry or correct theology, but a Christ-like life of faith which is expressed by love.

How does this apply to you and me? It is to easy to use this passage of Scripture to judge people who are not living up to our standards of what a Christian to be. While we need to be vigilant concerning our leaders and teachers I think we need to approach this passage primarily as a warning for us.

Are we too wrapped up with what other people think about us? Do we put on a spiritual or religious mask in front of certain people so they will think we are great "Christians"? Is part of our identity derived from this "Christian" image we think other people have of us?

Being a follower of Jesus isn't about doing "religious" activities and making other people believe that we are "spiritual" people. Being a follower of Jesus is about following Jesus where ever He leads, throwing off sinful habits, and living a life of faith. This is how we get to know Jesus, and how Jesus gets to know us. "Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let's celebrate together!" (Matthew 25:21; NLT).


Popular posts from this blog

Prayer: Married Bedtime Prayer

My wife Jenny and I have been using the Bedtime Prayer that John Eldredge wrote for Walking with God as part of our bedtime routine.  As much as I have enjoyed the prayer I thought it was time for a prayer that was better suited to pray together.  Hopefully this will encourage you to implement prayer into your bedtime routine.

Our Father in Heaven, we pause at the end of this day to say thank You.  We give You thanks for the blessing of life, for the blessing of each other, for the blessing of family, and for the blessing of a home. You have richly blessed our lives. Restore us Father to Your Son Jesus.  He is the vine and we are the branches and He has become our source of life.  Open our hearts to receive the Holy Spirit's guidance, healing, and transformation.  May our lives and our marriage bear the fruit of the Spirit.  We surrender our lives and our marriage to You.  You have our bodies, possessions, and spirits; we give You our hearts, souls, minds, and strength.  We belon…

God Uses Unlikely People

One of the things that strike me about God is that the value society has given to people makes no difference to Him. In fact it seems that God would rather use the common, even the despised, people of the world to make a difference in this world. Consider Moses. God doesn’t use Moses when he is a prince of Egypt, but when he is a nomadic shepherd. Certainly God has used the rich and the powerful, but more often than not God has used the poor, sinful, and abused. God uses the unlikeliest people.

This reality comes our loud and clear at Christmas time. Think about the major characters of the Christmas story: Joseph who is a poor and scandalize carpenter, Mary who is a young and scandalized girl, Shepherds who are a bunch of untrustworthy characters. Only the Magi have credibility in society, but this diminishes in Jewish culture since these men were Gentiles. The most important event in the history of the world and God chooses people who are rejected and wouldn’t be believed by so…

Worship is a Lifestyle

"It's a lot easier to sing a song than it is to stop and touch the broken. It's a lot less taxing to go to church than to take 'church' to the world. But sharing with others is a sacrifice of worship that makes God smile." ~ Louie Giglio; The Air I Breathe

Worship isn't just about music. Worship isn't just an activity that is planned and programmed. Worship is about glorifying God with our lives. When we seek to honor God, we worship Him.

Worship happens anytime and anyplace. It happens Sunday mornings at church. It happens Wednesday night at Bible Study. It happens when we chat with our neighbor. It happens when we serve those in need. It happens when we show love to the lonely. Worship is what being a Christian is all about.

Worship is a life lived in response to God's gracious blessings. God has given us so much. We owe Him every breath we breathe. He is responsible for our talents we use. God has given us blessing after blessing. Only a life o…