Slowly catching up with the rest. Weighing my words with this hazy/slightly worried/kinda tired mind.
Oh God help me.
There are instruments of God, and then there are servants of God.
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 who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Matthew 7:21 – 23 (NIV)
The devo puts it this way: An instrument is a person whom God uses, whether that person is right or not. God will bless His word, whether a saint or sinner preaches it. But the servant of God lives in the fullness of His Spirit, evidencing the life of obedience. (Oswald Chambers’ Devotions for a Deeper Life: A Daily Devotional)
How I see it, instruments of God pretty much means anyone whom God uses to accomplish His will, whether they realize it/intend for it or not. Anyone can be an instrument to God’s will because anyone can be used by God in that sense, even what we consider not-so-good can be used for His glory. It all works out in the end.
Servants of God on the other hand aren’t just people whom God can use to do things in this physical realm. Servants of God are living in a whole ‘nother reality. They’re living in the Spirit and the Spirit is living in them and from that relationship comes that outpouring of obedience to God.
I used to be confused about this verse because I think subconsciously, I equated the outpouring of God’s power (prophesying and driving out demons and doing miracles) as being really holy and close to God. I kind of assumed that if you could do these things, you’re probably right and tight with God because otherwise, why would God use you and allow you to do all that? If you could do these things through God, doesn’t it mean you are after God’s will and that He approves?
And yet, He outrightly rejects them in verse 23. He tells them plainly He never knew them. And I’m like whut.
what talking you. contradictory much? What do you mean you never knew them if you allowed them to do all that fancy stuff? Doesn’t fancy stuff = much holiness + much tight with you?
So I’m looking at this verse again, and this is what I’m seeing. There is a connection between the one Jesus approves, the one “who does the will of my Father who is in Heaven” and about Jesus knowing this person/this person knowing Jesus. The actions and miracley stuff isn’t part of that equation. And here, another verse comes to mind:
21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
John 14:21 (NIV)
There is a relationship between doing the will of the Father, in the knowing and keeping of these commands, and knowing the loving God who gave them. And I think there’s something really intentional here, which set the instruments and the servants apart. The servants have a direction, they have a master to follow and they have the Holy Spirit who lives in them and shows them what the will of God is that they might follow. And they do want to follow. There is the intention of obeying God, through the working of the Holy Spirit and through grace. And anything that comes from that, whether supernatural or not, is a result of this relationship with God and being changed into His likeness.
The deeds aren’t it. The intention of doing the Father’s will, the actual doing of His will by His grace, knowing and loving Him, those are it. Deeds are one of the by-products of such a relationship.
So it’s not deeds = right relationship with God, but a right relationship = deeds. I.e deeds don’t always mean you’re a servant of God, but being a servant of God and being in that a right relationship with God will, as a natural consequence of obedience, have something to show for them (cos faith without works ain’t faith nya). One of those times an equal sign doesn’t mean equality. The mind games.
On the flip side of things, the people who are using things they “did” (or rather what God allowed them to do) as proof/justification for gaining God’s approval are met by a cold, harsh truth: God doesn’t know them and they don’t know this God either. Because they aren’t servants. They are mere instruments who have no direction/intention to accomplish the will of God. God uses them, yes, but that doesn’t mean anything about their heart for God.
I don’t know if it’s a stretch to say this but I feel like even Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, was an instrument of God and he was far from perfect. Because of Judas, Jesus was crucified and salvation was brought to Mankind. So ultimate outcome is good, but was Judas acting in obedience to God to carry out His will? Nope. He wasn’t out to usher in God’s salvation for Mankind. He was more about betraying Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. But did God use him for good anyways? Yup. So yas.
Devo ends with this deep thought about what they think God is saying in effect: “when you judge the work someone is doing, don’t judge by the fact that you see Me at work. Judge him by his fruit.” Why? Cos the fruit of the indwelling Holy Spirit is in essence, character. Many can do the work of God but no one can imitate the fruit of the Holy Spirit. (Adapted from Oswald Chambers’ Devotions for a Deeper Life: A Daily Devotional)
And that character and that fruit, that’s what God really wants for us. Always thought fruit meant like “results”, in terms of work and numbers and accomplishing things. But it goes deeper than that. Fruit is in the mature young man and woman in Christ who turn to God constantly, dying to themselves and living for him constantly. They are the ones being good stewards of what He has called them to do. Everything else that happens physically, the work, the outcomes, is God at work anyways, through instruments and servants. It is the fruit of the character that the growing stuff happens and that’s the important part.
I just felt like this was really important. It was really important to me then when I was looking at it a couple weeks ago and it is important to me now although in a slightly different, deeper way. It also tied in with the last post about successful service and our relationship with God. Getting different stuff all the time. Practically grew up with that Matthew verse and am only seeing new stuff from it now. God so amazing.
Anyways, I has more gems and musings on a couple of desiringgod podcasts which I shall endeavour to share soon. Was going to do it with this one but I wanted to take sometime to think and re-think this devo/passage so that’s that. Also, brain is failing and methinks that words, especially those about God, have gotta be carefully written.
Goodnight, friends. Go pray. God bless, always.