Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter. – Francis Chan
We always hear that we shouldn’t let fear hold us back from our dreams. We’re told we should relentlessly pursue them, regardless of what others say or think. After all, they don’t understand the dream like we do. They don’t know what we know. They can’t see what we can see.
We’re told we shouldn’t let failure hold us back. Instead, we should see it as a learning tool and use it to diligently push us forward toward what we want. But what happens when what we want; the thing we desire; the dream that we are willing to sacrifice everything for, actually means nothing?
Jesus is teaching the crowd in Matthew 7 and He says something that should serve as a warning for us. It should force us to re-evaluate the goals that we set, the dreams we pursue, and the way we live our lives.
Matthew 7:21 “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. 22 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?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'”
Catch the weight of His words. He says those who enter the Kingdom of Heaven aren’t the people who acknowledge Him as Lord. He says it is possible to do great and mighty works. To be successful. To accomplish things that others witness and say, “Wow! That person is really being used by God. They’re preaching! They’re casting out demons! They’re healing people!”
Yet Jesus says to them, “Depart from me, I never knew you.” Really, what He is saying here is, “You never knew me.” For if we truly know Jesus, if we are true disciples who seek to follow Him, our first priority must always be to accomplish His Father’s will.
Before any goal; before any dream; before any ministry; we must ask ourselves, are we doing the will of God? We cannot allow the lure of success to cloud our vision. It’s possible to be successful by our cultures standards, and God help us; to be successful by the churches standards, and still have no relationship with God.
If we allow success to dictate our lives, one day we may get to heaven and hear those dreaded words: I don’t know you and you don’t know me.