Things Are Not Always What they Seem

Many times we interpret our circumstances through the lens of our past experience or our expectations.  I was reminded today that my interpretations are not fool-proof.  A couple of weeks ago I had a little A-Fib episode which entailed a trip to the ER, several tests and an overnight stay at the hospital.  With the exception of a few minutes that prompted the visit to the ER, I felt fine.  A day after getting out of the hospital I was back in the office; played golf on Saturday and preached twice on Sunday.  Today I went for a scheduled stress test that I was told would take about 4 hours.  Most of the other people in the waiting area went through the first segment of their test and were told to go eat something, drink some caffeine and return for the balance of the test.  When I finished my first segment, they told me that I was done for the day.  The only discomfort I felt was being mildly out of breath for a few moments.  I left thinking, "Boy, I aced this test."  About an hour after returning home I got a call from the cardiologist's office to schedule an office visit within the next two days.  I already had a follow-up visit booked for a week or so away.  Now I'm thinking that rather than acing the test, I may well have flunked it.  I still feel OK although my pulse is a bit erratic.
I've said all of that to say this.  Many people "feel" like they are OK with God when the reality is they are not.  Jesus said in Matt. 7:21-22 "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 in heaven.  On that day many will say to Me 'Lord, Lord, didn't we prophesy in Your name, and drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?'  Then I will announce to them, 'I never knew you! Depart from Me you lawbreakers!'"Just as my stress test revealed something that made the Dr. want a quick follow-up, there is a qualifying test for entering the kingdom of heaven.  It is not church membership or even devout service in the church that gets one into heaven, rather it is obedience to the commands of Jesus.  In the Great Commission Jesus clearly revealed that obedience is key.  He said, "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them TO OBSERVE (OBEY) everything I have commanded you."  (Matt. 28:19-20)
Although it may SEEM to you that you are alright with God, the proof is in your obedience to His Word.  In order to obey it you must read it and meditate on it.  You can't trust your feelings because things are not always what they seem.

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