My Graduation From Spiritual Kindergarten


Shana Schutte shares her discovery that what God asks of those who say they know Him is much more difficult than she first believed.

Over the last year, a convicting–but enlightening–thought has persistently filled my mind: What God asks of those who say they know Him is much more difficult than I first believed.

I feel as if the Lord is inviting me to graduate from spiritual kindergarten, when I thought I had already received my diploma. For over twenty years as I have walked with the Christ, my understanding has often been like that of many believers who have been told, “Just ask Jesus into your heart and you’ll go to heaven.” Granted, Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe with your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (ESV).  But now I also understand that confession is the beginning of belief. Then comes discipleship. This means following Christ.

Perhaps this is why Matthew 7:21 says,

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven.”

Whoa! Those are heavy words!

In this scripture, we are reminded that Christ isn’t here to serve us; we are here to serve Him. We are here to do His will. And it’s not just about saying we believe while we live our own lives. It’s sobering. . . Jesus asks those who know Him to live for Him—and nothing less.

You mean it’s not just about God making my dreams come true and making me happy, healthy, and wealthy? It’s not about just saying I believe but not backing up my words with action that proves my love? You mean it’s not just about God serving me? You mean it’s actually about Jesus being Lord?

I wonder if in our attempt emphasize grace—which of course, is very important—we have missed the seriousness of “working out our salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). We must remember that yes, we are saved by grace. We can’t do anything to earn our way into heaven (Ephesians 2:9). It’s only Christ’s gift on the cross that has washed away our sin so we can be with Him forever in eternity. But we must also remember that faith without works is dead (James 2:20). In any relationship—including the one with Christ—action doesn’t prove love, but true love is always proven by action.

I have to be honest, this message of Lordship doesn’t make me want to do a dance like the messages of receiving God’s blessings do. Frankly, I sometimes feel like screaming, “But I want to do things my way!” Still, God is asking, “Will you really let me be in charge or will you say you believe but still do your own thing?”

Is Jesus not only your Savior, but also your Lord? Is He Lord of your calling? Your career? Your relationships? In your pursuit of His blueprint for your life, are you committed to serving Him because you love Him? Are you willing to do what He asks, or are you—like I often have been and sometimes still am—more concerned about your own comfort?

Digging Deeper: What part of today’s devotional hit you hardest and why? What does Matthew 7:13-14 say about the gate that leads to eternal life? Does this teaching go against what you have believed? Why do you think the gate that leads to life is narrow (or difficult)? What does Matthew 7:24 say the “wise man” does? Based on Matthew 5:1-7:12, which “sayings” in particular do you think Jesus is referring to in Matthew 7:24? Does this change your perspective of what it means to be a follower of Christ?

Written by Shana Schutte



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