Friday, April 24, 2009

I Don’t Want to Be “That Guy” in Matthew 7

My friend Chris and I used to joke about our desire to not be “that guy”. You don’t want to be “that guy”. unclericoYou know, “that guy” that you point at with the comb-over that fools nobody, you don’t want to be him. Or “that guy” decked out in eye black, pinstripes, $125 cleats, and wrist bands playing church-league softball. You don’t want to be “that guy”. Or “that guy” that still sports a mullet, drives a 1980’s Camaro, smoke’s Camel cigarettes, and drives through town waving a 12 foot Old Dixie. Nobody really likes “that guy”. Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite is “that guy”. Nobody wants to be him.

There is one “that guy” that I definitely do not want to be. It’s “that guy” that struts up to Jesus confident of his acceptance; like the confident batter that begins walking to first in the certainty that the umpire will call “ball four”. I do not want to be “that guy” because it doesn’t end well for “that guy”:

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.’

I have to be honest; Matthew 7 has always left me a little uncomfortable. I always get a little afraid that maybe I will be “that guy”: you know, the guy that stands before Jesus full of confidence, only to get thrown into the fires of hell. Please do not misunderstand me. I do have confidence that I will be with Christ for eternity. But I think the poor saps in Matthew 7 had that same confidence. And if I am being honest, that scares me a little bit.


  1. ditto on your concern mikey. i no that's not a deep response that sparks unending discussion, but simply put I feel your thoughts often as well. I'm an abomination in need of the saving grace of our Father... CONSTANTLY. It burdens me greatly that I casually sing my little songs in front of a lethargic uninterested group of people who, I'm convinced, are like me and simply checking off one more thing on their weekend "to do" list. How dare we... but God look what we've done in Your name.. look at my shells God.. I sang my pretty little songs God... yuck...the last thing I desire is hell, but it's so what I deserve.

  2. I definitely sympathize with your concerns on a practical level - one does not want to display pride before the humble God revealed in Jesus Christ and the same God who determines our eternal destiny.

    So, no, we shouldn't be 'that guy.'

    However, I might encourage you, too, in the fact that the Biblical witness does give us room (indeed, an imperative!) to approach the throne of God with confidence, knowing that all our rights to be there are won on the cross of Christ! There is great confidence in this. There is great hope in this.

    We can be confident before God without being 'that guy.'


  3. Brian,

    Indeed the only hope that we do have in the midst of our half-hearted worship is the beauty of grace. This side of eternity our worship will be but a small glimmer of that which is to come. But thankfully, some day we will be totally redeemed.

    Thanks for the comment. It is astonishing that we are to approach Him with confidence. Undoubtedly our confidence arises from the surety of Christ's acceptance with God (and thus our acceptance). It's comforting to know that the only way I will go to hell (assuming I am in relationship with Christ) is if Jesus himself goes to hell. What God has joined together we cannot separate.

    Actually, this is an introduction to something I am working on in 1 John. Where I go through the text there to say we can indeed have confidence before God....but how? How do you know you aren't "that guy"? My point here really is that confidence alone is not a reason for confidence.

  4. Good word, brother. I agree. I John is such a tough convicting. I'm actually teaching two S.S. lessons on it right now. This Sunday is the second of my two studies. Last week I did 1:5-10, and this week is the first three verses of chapter 2.



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