“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law. (Matthew 7:24-29)
We are convinced that the greatest deception in the Church today is confusing hearing the Word of God with doing the Word of God. We have listened to countless sermons and done many Bible studies without acting upon them, and the result has been disastrous. Rather than growing more loving and open to the things of the Spirit as we progress in the faith, we find coldness, rigidness, and a lack of love. The author of Hebrews warns of the hardness of hearts that can occur when we hear His voice and fail to act upon it.
It is this danger that Jesus addresses as He concludes the great “Sermon on the Mount.” He contrasts the wise and the foolish builder. The wise builder who builds his house on a solid foundation of rock is likened to the one who is a doer of the Word. The foolish builder who builds on the sand is the one who hears the Word, but does not act on it. His house will collapse in a storm.
No one would choose to build in a way that would invite destruction. Yet failing to act on the Word of God does exactly that in our lives according to Jesus. Statistics show us that on average, people remember 20% of what we hear, but 90% of what we do—especially if it is applied to a real life situation as soon as we learn something! Believers should always be looking for ways to be the hands and feet of Jesus as Scripture reveals His truth to us. As Christ-followers, we need to move from horizontal hearing to engaging God in vertical obedience.
Help me, Lord, to be a doer of Your Word. I’m so grateful that You communicate to Your people through Your Word and Your Spirit. Help me to go beyond the first step of hearing to the important step of obedience. Give me the wisdom to build on the rock of Your Word!
–Adapted from Vertical with Jesus: A 30-Day Journey to Impact Kingdom Living by David and Kim Butts. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise God for his excellence in creation. Give thanks for the creation’s variety and splendor. Confess ways in which you have misused parts of it. Commit yourself to the proper care and use of God’s creation. Ask God to help you regard it as “clean” (Rom. 14:14), receiving it from him with thanksgiving.
Pray for sensitivity among Christians toward one another’s beliefs about food, drink, religious observances, and other discretionary matters (Romans 14), so that fellowship and caring might not be hindered. Ask God to help you to “make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification” (14:19).
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