Emily began writing short stories and poetry as a little girl, entered the blogging world in her early 20's, and recently released her first book, Yielded in His Hands (eLectio Publishing). She enjoys being a stay-at-home momma while still being able to freelance write. Believing she has been forgiven of much, she loves much, and desires to point others to Christ and His redemptive and transforming power. If you would like to connect with Emily or learn more about her book, you can visit her website: www.emilyrosemassey.com
In May 2015, my husband and I heard a sermon that impacted our faith greatly and has continued to stir in our hearts as the months have passed.
Our eyes were opened to the terrifying reality found in Matthew 7:21-23:
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (NKJV)
We had both read that scripture many times before, but it’s truth cut deep to the core of our hearts. Suddenly, we could no longer settle for the complacency that “Churchianity” had birthed in our lives. We were tired of standing in our leadership positions in ministry week after week and feeling totally empty and unsettled. We knew how important it was to serve in the House of God, but something wasn’t quite right anymore.
Had we lost our first Love all the while trying to serve Him? Aren’t we supposed to follow the Lord’s order to “Go into the world…”?
We discovered that religion had blinded us. Yes, even in a non-denominational setting, we had been conquered by a religious spirit.
This spirit of religion was demanding that we DO MORE for the Kingdom to reach the lost.
Yes, reaching the lost is important and a command from the Lord, but not at the expense of forsaking our relationship with Him.
It’s about the people, it’s about the people!
Those works of ministry that are listed in Matthew 7:22 are a part of the Great Commission; through them, many can come to know Christ and we can advance His Kingdom.
So why did Jesus tell these ministers to “depart from [him] (vs 23)?”
They clearly believed on Him, but I don’t think that was enough for them. They didn’t trust in Christ’s redemptive work on the Cross alone, they were declaring their works to the Lord.
As I have studied out this passage, one word jumps out at me:knew.
The Hebrew word for know/knew is “yada (YA-DAH)”.
It means to recognize, understand, to have sexual relations.
This word is found in the Old Testament hundreds of times.
This same word used in Genesis to describe Adam being intimate with Eve (ch 4, vs 1) is also found in Psalm 46:10
Be still, and know that I am God (NKJV)
Wait, what? Please, stick with me.
Today, when I was mediating on Matthew 7 once again (praying for those who are a part of the Household of Faith who honor the Lord with their lips, yet their hearts are far from Him), I looked up the word knew in my Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance regarding Matthew 7:23.
The Greek word for knew is “ginosko (GI-NO-SKO).”
Ginosko has the same exact definition as yada!
Let me remind you, friend, we must look at intimacy with God with spiritual eyes, and not what we know of intimacy in the natural.
For instance, if you would break down the word intercourse, you would discover that it means that two courses are so intertwined, you don’t know where one course begins and one course ends.
The Lord wants us to be so connected and intertwined with Him, that you can’t tell where the relationship begins or ends.
That is what is means to know the Lord, and in return, the Lordknows you.
When we know Jesus, and He knows us, we are intimately connected to Him.
This is why there is such intrinsic beauty in Ephesians 5 when Paul reveals how marriage between a man and a woman is a reflection of Christ’s love for the Church, His Bride.
We must commune with the Lord every single day; this has greater importance to God than even evangelism, ministry endeavors, or using the gifts He gave us.
Remember, Jesus said Mary of Bethany chose the “good part” when He came to visit- while her sister was in a frenzy serving, she took advantage of the moment and sat at Jesus’ feet for awhile.
We cannot get our eyes so focused on the Second Commandment and ignore the First (Mark 12:30-31).
If we give ourselves fully to the First Commandment, the Second Commandment will naturally flow out from our devoted and captivated heart.
Father, we repent for trusting in our own works, even if they are ultimately in Your name and for You and Your glory. We long to see Your Kingdom come to this earth. We long to see prodigals return home. We long to see even more people awakened to the truth that through Jesus’ work on the Cross, they are given the right to be called Your child. Yes, we long to reach the lost, but not at the cost of forsaking our communion with You. We tremble at Your words found in Matthew 7 and take heed to not become ensnared by a religious spirit, one that says we must do more than just be with You. Help us to guard our heart from deception and remain watchful. We thank You for Your Blood, Jesus. We thank You for the Cross. We cling to it above all. Draw us away with You, and when it’s time, we will run together and see the greatest harvest of souls that this world has ever seen! In Jesus’ name, Amen.