For Real

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.—Matthew 7:21

When I was in fourth grade, the surf culture exploded in the South Bay. I remember pleading with my mom for white jeans, a Pendleton and blue deck shoes to kick off school year. I wasn’t the only one, of course; we all came to school looking like extras for a Beach Boys album cover.

Yes, we all looked like surfers, but how did anyone recognize an actual surfer in such an environment? Exactly—real surfers surfed. Some better than others but what all of them had in common was actually paddling out and catching waves.

Last week I encountered a young man who enthusiastically talked about church worship, church outreach to the poor and the beauty of Scripture. Given his excitement I asked the logical question, “Are you a disciple of Jesus?” He smiled, “I love going to church and learning about God but I am not a Christian yet.”

I could only applaud his honesty and understanding. He understood that attending services—or even doing nice things for others—does not make one a Christian; embracing the Good News of Jesus, confessing Him as Lord and Savior, and entering the Kingdom of God do. What my new friend has seen and heard about Jesus intrigues him and he wants to continue exploring, but he was clear with me: “I’m not there yet.”

The words of Jesus in the verse quoted above  can ring harshly in our ears. More than a few people have convinced themselves that showing up to church and behaving themselves makes them Christians. But Jesus lays reality out clearly for us: looks do not cut it. We may fool ourselves with our posturing but it is a dangerous ruse. The call of Jesus is an invitation to surrender and follow. Real discipleship is costly, but way less costly than the deception.

This is why we at North County Project do not rush in our telling of the Good News. We believe Bible Dialogues give seekers time and sufficient insight to truly comprehend the depth and width and breadth of Jesus’ invitation—and the meaning of life in Christ as well. We want to make disciples, not posers.

Are there any areas in my own life where I am resisting the will of the Father? What keeps me from trusting God’s purposes for me?

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