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Discerning Our Deeds

7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven – only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 7:22 On that day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons and do many powerful deeds?’ 7:23 Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you.

7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven – only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 7:22 On that day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons and do many powerful deeds?’ 7:23 Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Go away from me, you lawbreakers!’ Matthew 7:21-23 (NET)

I read this passage and it cuts to the heart and to my hands. Whoever does the will of the Father – this is what we start with – not our good deeds. It might still be a good deed but it is not what our Father called us to do. How often are we doing what we think we should or doing something someone else should be doing? There are so many reasons we think we should do something – it’s what is expected, it’s what is available, it allows us to be busy when we want to avoid doing something else. There are also many reasons we are doing something someone else should be – insecurity, we think we can do it better, the doors have been opened for us by well-meaning, but not God-discerning/listening people. These lists can go on and on. Fact is, we all do things for God that He never asked us to.

I want to be able to discern what it is that God is calling me to. I want to learn this more and more, for the rest of my life. For myself, yes and to also help others discern this. How do we begin this process? What does it take to discern what God is calling us to rather than taking on another’s calling? How do we help one another discern each other’s calling and leave out judgment or even jealousy of that person? He is the one who breathed life into us (Genesis 2:7) and made us living beings – so how is it that He is calling us to live?

My initial thought, from my own experience, is that it starts with attending and listening to God – spending time with Him in solitude, reflection, study, meditation. There is a practice and discipline required in sitting with God and allowing Him to speak. Yes, I say “allowing” because we do a great job and crowding our time with unimportant things, that the most important Voice cannot be heard. This practice of listening to God takes time. Also, in my experience, it does not have an agenda. I may be reading through a book, or portion of Scripture, or something else, but there’s not necessarily an agenda or expectation except for “God, please speak, I am listening”.

How would it look for you to sit with God agenda-less? What will it take for you to learn to listen to God discern the deeds He is calling you to?

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