Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven."........"Are you a religious name-dropper?"  Eugene Peterson
      I realize that it's very easy to become legalistic in our faith lives, but it may be even easier, so to speak, to be labeled as such by much of the western church.  I know that we can take a scripture and build a kind of "law"out of it, a law devoid of His mercy and grace, but there are just far too many scriptures that cannot be softened, and many of them were spoken by Jesus Himself.  The above scripture is surely one of them.
      I have to say that my spirit is deeply troubled by all I see of those who proclaim His name so often with their lips, yet deny Him even more often with their lives.  I'm willing to risk being labeled both judgemental and legalistic for saying that.  Let me say that I also believe deeply in the mercy and grace of the Father.  I have a friend who likes to say that the one prayer we can be sure that the Father will answer is the one prayed by the tax-gatherer in the Temple, "Lord, have mercy on me."  He is a God of unlimited grace and mercy, but He is also a God who is pure and holy.  A God, a Father, who calls us in Christ, to a life of purity and holiness.  Not just in outward behavior, but in inward condition and reality.  Indeed, unless the inward is our reality, the outward is nothing more than show.  
     The question Jesus asks in Matthew 7 is as relevant, powerful and convicting now as it was then.  His Words always are.  It's a question that to some degree will be spoken into our hearts on some level each day.  Are we calling Him "Lord" while all the time seeing to the carrying out of our own wills in opposition to His?  Do we want to walk in "our way" or "the way," His way, of which He clearly says in the Word, "there is no other way."  At least no other that will lead into the Kingdom of God.  There are various interpretations of what Jesus fully meant when He said that no one could enter into His Kingdom unless they did the will of the Father, at least as concerns eternity.  But there can be no denying that it is impossible to live in and out of Kingdom life apart from living in, abiding in, His life and will.  To call Him Lord, while living a life in opposition to His will for us is to live a lie.  There is no way to soften that.  If we don't wish to have His will in our lives, than the clear truth is that we don't really wish to live or have His Kingdom life either.  Our lips may say we do, but our lives say we don't.
     I close with this prayer Peterson wrote in his devotional, One Year With Jesus, "Lord Christ, when I use Your name, keep me honest so that I am expressing a relationship with You and engaging in a response to Your will.  I want my whole life, not just my mouth, to speak Your name." It has been said of some politicians, that if their lips are moving, they're lying.  Sadly, it may well be said of many who profess to be His as well.  May not only our lips, but our lives speak His name to a world that needs to hear, see, and know Him, through a people that call Him Lord.

Pastor O
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   May 2019   
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