By Linda Tancs
Prophesying, casting out demons and performing mighty deeds are all activities that Jesus delineated as marks of discipleship (Mark 16:17). Yet in chapter seven of Matthew’s gospel, he rejects some of those who claim to perform those very activities in His name and disavows even knowing them (Matthew 7:22-23). Does that seem confusing? Is Jesus rejecting service in His name? Of course not. What He’s getting at is the difference between being and acting. You may invoke His name in all that you say and do, but does His presence dwell in you? Jesus wants disciples who know more than just how to act; he wants followers who know the right way to be.
Our work is ultimately to believe in the person behind the Word (Romans 1:17). Oftentimes people place their confidence in regular church attendance and service on committees but don’t understand Jesus or the work of Jesus inside them—that is, the Holy Spirit. You can’t “work” your way to heaven. Works are a sign of faith but should not replace faith. Those who do otherwise are the false kind of disciples that Jesus is criticizing in Matthew’s gospel because they fail to recognize that it’s their faith in Jesus that makes them acceptable to God and not their performance. Resolve to keep Him present in all that you say and do.
As part of FOOT FORWARD MINISTRIES, Go Forward in Faith represents faith-based meditations for personal and professional growth. Learn more at goforwardinfaith.com. Follow us on Twitter @moveonfaith and join the Facebook group @goforwardinfaith.