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Unimpressive Service

Updated: Jan 10, 2022

The one scripture that has made the strongest impression on me in the entire Bible is Matthew 7:21-23.

Matthew 7:21-23 KJV
[21] Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
[22] Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
[23] And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

It's an extremely frightening scripture but at the same time, it's very humbling. That verse is a clear indication of God's value system. Reading the profile of the Christians described in Matthew 7:21, it's obvious they worked very hard and became proficient in spiritual activities including miracles, philanthropic activities and loads of other really great stuff. To achieve this feat, would definitely require lots of time spent in prayer and perhaps fasting. But in spite of all the time spent in prayer, fasting, engaging in many wonderful works, Jesus was obviously not impressed with them. In fact, Jesus said to them "depart from me". No one should ever hear those words from Jesus.

But what did these spiritually hardworking people do to deserve these harsh words from Jesus at the end of their service here on earth? The bible makes it clear that they lived very disobedient lives. That's why Jesus said, he who will enter heaven, is not the one who calls Jesus Lord and engages in lofty spiritual exercises. Jesus said the one who will enter heaven, is the one who obeys me by doing the will of my father in heaven. Be careful about your perception of disobedience. It's easy to assume that a disobedient person is one who outrightly rejects the teachings of the Bible. That is not true. Notice that these people did not disobey the entire scripture. They just selected the part of the Bible they wanted to obey and disobeyed other commands they felt were too tough to obey. In other words, they obeyed selectively.

You might be like that. You obey some of God's commands but disobey other commands.

The truth is that God values obedience to his words, more than anything else including prayer. That is clear from the story of the Christians in Matthew referred to in our text scripture. They definitely prayed a lot, but the verdict at the end was not pleasant because of their attitude to God's commands.

Examine yourself.

Do you engage in lies, evil speaking, cheating, bitterness and the like, yet you lift your voice in prayer without a genuine heartfelt desire to step out of a disobedient lifestyle? Are you strong in prayer but weak in obedience? If your answer is a truthful yes, then

change your pursuit.

Pursue obedience to God above everything else. Decide you want to achieve a 100% result in your obedience to God. Desire it, put in all the deliberate effort required, and ask for the daily help and grace of God.

Remember, God, values obedience more than sacrifice. Whether it is the sacrifice of prayer or other services to God, it comes secondary to obedience. If you truly want to please God, you must make obedience your number one priority.

1 Samuel 15:22 KJV
[22] And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
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