When I go to a doctor's office, it's more than comforting when I see a big piece of paper framed on the wall - letting me know that this person whom I am paying to diagnose and treat me has put in the man hours (years) and earned the right for me to call him/her "Dr." It serves as sort of a "proof" that they know what they are talking about...much needed proof.
There are times that I long for someone to believe that I know what I am talking about in certain areas, yet I don't have a degree to hold up and wave. I get it. We like evidence.
There were a few men back in the book of Acts who tried to hide behind a Name and cast a demon out of a man:
"In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out."
They recognized that there was power in the Name of Jesus, and they recognized that Paul knew this and had success in preaching about Him. So in essence, it was like they were trying to hang Paul's "degree" on their walls. They didn't know the Name for themselves. They didn't live in the Name of Jesus for themselves. The evil spirit knew the difference and made them pay for it.
Salvation is something you cannot earn. No matter how many years you spend doing the best that you can at life, your work will not pay for your redemption. It is free, because it has already been purchased by Jesus Christ through His blood. However, there is a cost for walking in and living in His Name. There is a denial of self required, and there is a choice to lay down your own life daily to be crucified with Him.
I invite you to strive for the degree of knowing Him. I urge you to hide in the Name of Jesus for yourself, rather than piggyback off of someone else's relationship with Him.
He saw you as worth His life. Isn't He worth yours?
Father, I want to be willing to pay whatever price to know You, to know Jesus, in the power of His resurrection. I want to hide in His Name for myself. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Acts 19:11-20, Philippians 3:7-11, Luke 9:23, Matthew 25:1-13