September 30, 2009

Only Those Who Do!

Matthew 7:21-29

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven …”
Matthew 7:21


In today’s reading the Lord Jesus summarizes the theme of James’s letter. Someday, says Jesus, some of us who preached in his name, sang great hymns, and went to church on Sundays but did not live faithfully for God will hear him say, “I don’t know you.” Those words present us with a sobering challenge.

During the past month we have been listening to James as he urges us to look closely at our lives, and as he shows us how our faith in the Lord Jesus can affect our everyday behavior and make an impact on others. Our faith, says James, has to show itself in our response to every situation. It has to show in the way we treat the people in our lives and in the way we reach out to those who need our help. Our faith must show itself in the way we talk and listen, and in how we face the future. It has to express itself in a life of prayer.

How should we respond? We must make sure that we remain connected to the Lord Jesus. We have to make sure we are indeed “believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ” (James 2:1). And then each of us needs to ask, “Am I doing the Lord’s will? Am I putting God first in my life? Is God working through me to make a difference in this world?” If we can answer yes to these questions, we’ll hear our Lord say to us someday, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:23).

Father in heaven, help us to examine our faith and our actions, and work in us to conform every part of our lives to your will. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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