There’s a place in Scripture that’s been haunting me lately. I think so often in Christianity, we put dividing lines in the sand of our faith that shouldn’t be there. We yell at each other about theology, how we love people, what music we sing in church, and what color the carpet should be in the sanctuary. The more I read Scripture, however, it seems as though Jesus made some dividing lines.

I’m not talking about the kinds of dividing lines that we make, but something entirely different. Jesus makes a dividing line that's drastically different than the kinds you see in Christianity today. 

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
— Jesus, Matthew 7:21-23

Wait…Jesus just said here that people will do things in His name, but HE DOESN’T KNOW THEM? What? It seems like there’s some massive dividing line here. And it seems like the dividing line is us. DANG. So this leads me to ask the question—how is it possible to be doing things for Jesus, yet not actually knowing Him?

It seems the only way to answer this, is oneself. Often, the best way we can tell how we’re doing with our relationship with God is to see where we’re spending our time, and our money. The less time we spend in prayer, Scripture, and the less time we spend focusing on Him, the more our relationship with Him could be in danger. I see this in myself, too. It can be so easy to lose sight of my relationship with The Lord in the busyness of life. It can be so easy to make excuses for ourselves—“work has been hectic, and I have less time at home.” “I just want to relax tonight.” Often, instead of finding time to relax in the presence of God through prayer, I find time to relax in the presence of Stranger Things, or rewatching The Office for the 28493025402123013th time. 

While I’m not against Netflix, I think that this can be extraordinarily telling of the focus of my heart, which seems to be escape. It can be so easy to lose focus of God, who gives us that we truly need—rest, peace, understanding, wisdom, joy, forgiveness, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control, just to name a few. As Christians, we’re called to live our lives for God. Are we really doing that, however, when we don’t spend time with Him? It can become second-nature to start to clothe the hungry, tell people about Jesus, and do incredible things, without the power of the Holy Spirit. I say this, because I’ve been guilty of it. We have to be spending more time with God. Author C.S. Lewis once said this about spending time with The Lord:

We have our New Testament regimental orders upon the subject. I would take it for granted that everyone who becomes a Christian would undertake this practice. It is enjoined upon us by our Lord; and since they are His commands, I believe in following them. It is always just possible that Jesus Christ meant what He said when He told us to seek the secret place and close the door.
— C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock, "Cross Examination" (1963), p. 266

I don’t believe our time to “seek the secret place and close the door” doesn’t need to have a certain time constraint, either. Jesus never said “if you don’t spend AT LEAST 45 minutes with me EVERY DAY, I don’t know you.” Jesus said to “come and follow me.” Bible reading time may differ from day-to-day, but there is one thing that can remain constant, regardless of your busy schedule; that “thing” being prayer. Prayer is not simply a time to bow your head and go on with your day—it’s a conversation throughout your day. And part of a conversation is listening to God. My question to all of us (myself included) is, are we listening to God through prayer and His Word, or are we doing nice things and saying we know Him?