[click for audio: Doing God’s Work]
“Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).
“If our reliance is upon anything but our own understanding of Truth, our work will cease to be fruitful. If we rely unduly upon anyone else, upon a particular teacher or healer, for instance, he will be certain to fail us, probably through no fault of his own. He will be out of reach when we most need him, or for some other reason will be unavailable in our hour of need.” — Emmet Fox
This saying of Jesus is a good example of making a distinction between religion and spirituality. Religion is a formulated doctrine about God. Spirituality is the God quality in each individual. Learning and reciting a doctrine is not the same thing as seeking to understand and live from our spiritual nature.
When we pray to a God we have only read about, we are saying “Lord, Lord” please help me. We’re coming from a place in consciousness that is disconnected from the true essence of the one presence and power that eternally abides in us. We do not enter the awareness of this presence but see it as something separate from who and what we are. Our reliance, as Fox points out, falls on external sources rather than on God.
Both teachers and religious doctrine serve an important instructional purpose similar to that of an owner’s manual to a product. You can memorize the manual from cover to cover, but if you do not apply the knowledge you glean to the product itself, your knowledge is of little value. If you do apply it, you will no longer need the manual.
Doing the will of God starts with becoming still and coming to know God as a present help that can lift us above all negative appearances. Jesus is not saying that God will help some and reject others. He is simply pointing out that people can be aligned with religious doctrine and in misalignment with their spirituality. God is equally accessible to all, but, drawing upon yet another analogy, if we stop in the lobby of religious doctrine we will never experience our oneness with God in the inner sanctuary.