“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 who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you.'”
University of San Diego basketball star Johnny Dee has been a Christian his entire life. Raised in a Christ-loving home, Johnny always wanted to pursue a relationship with God and honor him with his life. But somewhere along the way, basketball became Johnny’s primary focus and he began to look at his faith as a bunch of rules he had to follow so that God would bless his basketball career.
However, it didn’t take long for Johnny to realize that he had gotten a little mixed up. He explains that faith isn’t about following a set of rules or focusing on “what [we] can do for God. Instead, it is about realizing what God has already done for [us].” Johnny experienced a heart shift when he stopped trying to prove himself to God and began to pursue God’s heart and embrace his unconditional love.
As Johnny shared his story at Newport Harbor and CdM, I was moved by how important this message is for these high school students. Influenced by a culture that heavily focuses on accomplishment and is always asking students to prove themselves, many students unconsciously assume that they have to prove their worth to God. Johnny’s message was a moving reminder that, without our doing anything to earn it, God loves us, pursues us, and wants to know us intimately.