Is It All For Nothing? :: A Look At Matthew 7:21-23

 “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. 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?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matthew 7:21-23

I never knew you?

This passage makes me squirm a little. The idea that I could live my life (or think that I’m living my life) for Jesus and at the end of it all be turned away causes me a little anxiety.

I do quite a few things “for” God — like write this blog, lead bible studies, attempt to teach my children the gospel, pray, go to church, etc., etc. Yet there is the possibility that it will be all for nothing. There is a possibility that all my “good” works are actually lawless works. And that scares me. A lot.

I never knew Him?

Why? Because if all my works are actually lawless, then it means I don’t actually know Jesus. And I want… No, I need to know Jesus — the One who knows me perfectly, inside and out, flaws and all and still loves with His whole life.

If I don’t know Jesus it means something else — something that I don’t want to admit: I have not surrendered my life to Him. It means I am not doing the will of the Father.  This means I’m still living for myself, making my own decisions, and trying to be better and do right through my own flimsy power.

It means I don’t trust God. I don’t trust His Son. I don’t trust His Holy Spirit.

Not knowing Jesus means something else: I’m a fake. If I go about doing all these things in the name of Son, but not by the power or by the leading of the Spirit… Well, then I’m a lair and a phony. I’m pretending to be something I’m not. I’m pretending to be His servant when really I’m serving myself — looking for my own “Christian” fame and glory.

How horribly lawless. How horribly wicked.

Turning to Him

So what do I do with all this anxiety? With this worry that I don’t know Jesus?

I pray.

Father in Heaven, correct my heart. Search me and know if there is any wicked way in me. Show me where I still refuse to follow your Son. Reveal to me any decisions that I make that are not inline with your will. Bring to light the filthy works I  continue to accomplish through my power and not by yours. Please, Lord, do this all so that I may confess and return to you. Make me a true follower and a true servant of Jesus Christ. I want to know you more. In the name of your Son I pray. Amen. 


I wrote this post while reading Quietly Through the Bible. You can find out more about the Quietly Through reading plan and community here. I share online because I believe we are called to live in light (1 John 1). In other words, we are to live honestly and openly before God and with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. We cannot do this if we are faking it all the time — pretending that we have it all together or that we have no worries, questions, or concerns.  I don’t understand everything I read in my Bible, so please don’t think of me as an expert. Please hold everything I say and write up against the Word of God and rely on the Holy Spirit to help you understand His Word.

If you, too, are reading Quietly Through, I’d love to hear what God is laying on your heart as you spend time in His word. Please leave a comment or send me a private message. Also, if you are blogging about your Quietly Through time, share a link to your post in the comments section.

Only by grace,



    1. I re-read this last night and had to smile. Looking back, over the short time span since this post was written, I can see God working in me to answer this prayer. He is so good!

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