“I never knew you.” These are 4 of the most compelling words found in the bible to me, when you consider who they were spoken to and what they were doing. The men in Matt. 7:22 were performing signs, wonders and miracles and they were not interested in being God’s friend. The passage says they were prophesying and doing “many miracles,” not just one or two, and yet, when they got to Jesus he said, “Get away from me, evildoers, I never knew you.” Evildoers? Since when is doing miracles and prophesying in Jesus’ name evil?
The reason this scripture is so profound to me is because it underscores the meaninglessness of our works without a relationship with God. If there was any doubt in our minds that our walk with God was best exemplified by our works, this passage tears that idea down. There are many faiths and believers who put a premium on doing “good” works but few will encourage us in being God’s friend. First, by who’s definition are they good? Our’s or God’s? Second, when you compare them to our works, how much better would our works be as compared to the men in this passage? Are we doing signs, wonders and miracles? And if Jesus is calling these miraculous men “evildoers” what does that make us, as mere painters of granny’s house?
God does not need our works. He has plenty of help and he is quite capable of doing what he needs to get done without us. What he is after is relationship. “I never knew you” is a warning call to all of us – to enter into deeper relationship with God and to be a friend of God (James 2:23). Jesus did not come to model works, but to model how mere men/women can have a relationship with God in being God’s friend. He is saying that these men never consulted him, followed him, or even asked him if they should be doing what they were doing. And they were doing it in his name with great power (something to think about). Jesus wants us to come to him, to know him, to spend time with him, to hear his voice and then if he asks us to do things, we’ll find favor with God. Doing good things is nice, but if we don’t involve the Father, if he doesn’t tell us to do those things, Jesus makes it plain that it will not profit us.
God is calling his people into greater intimacy with him. He wants us to be a committed people of intentionality – to do works of service that he asks for – that come out or our relationship with him rather than for him. He wants us working from heaven, by what he asks, not to heaven to show ourselves approved. We all aspire to serve God. We all want to be busy and want to do something. But stop and ask, “Did God ask for this?” Works are only “good” if they come out of our intimacy with the Father. That is how we become sons and daughters of God and how we align ourselves in partnership with heaven. In such cases he will never say, I never knew you, but instead will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Press into God today. Spend time with him. Just be with him. The work will get done. He will see to it. But what he wants more than anything else is simply you.