“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.” (Luke 6:46-49 NASB)
Obedience. It’s one of those words that affects us at a gut level. Sure, when we were teenagers, it was difficult. But now that we’re adults…it’s still hard. We want to drive faster than the posted limit. We want to leave work early or come in late, and who’d know? We tell “white lies” to our families, some of which we eventually believe. Obedience is not exactly a strong behavior trait in our culture. In fact, the highest degree of obedience is when it we consider obedience to be a direct benefit to us. Then we’re obedient, and it’s easy; as long as it’s about us.
Well, clearly Jesus has other ideas, once again. Shocking isn’t it? After all that poor-versus-rich stuff, and doing good to evil people, and not judging others, and becoming less plank-eyed, and so on; now if we don’t behave as if this is all true, we’ve built our entire lives on sand. What does that even mean? How is choosing to follow the same standards as the culture in which God put us (consider THAT!) like building our lives on sand?
Where Do We Live?
Paul makes a statement, and the writer of Hebrews emphasizes with a literary hammer, this is not our home. That’s how disobedience, living different from Jesus’ pattern, and choosing against Jesus and for this culture is like building on sand. This culture, world, philosophy, and society is not home. Jesus is pretty clear, if we want to live as this place is home, then that will become true, and we’ll miss eternity. Think about that. We’d miss out on eternity because we won’t let go of possessions. We’ll miss eternity because we hold on to our hate and resentments, won’t forgive, and hold grudges. By advocating our rights, we miss our future home with Jesus. By living for our desires, we demonstrate we have no desire for Jesus, our Savior and King.
I could just close it up right here. That’s my view through the knothole, what’s yours? But I do have what I think may be encouraging words. I know, kind of a new approach for me.
Jesus’ Spirit as “Contractor”
Unless Jesus builds the “house”, the builders labor in vain. It’s not “New Testament”, I know, I added “Jesus” to the quote. It’s still true though. Jesus taught from the Hebrew Scriptures. He said they spoke of Him, and I, for one, have a deep and abiding respect and love for them. We can try to build our own houses, and do our best to dig down and find that bedrock foundation to anchor our houses. But Jesus, through His Spirit, is here to help. In Romans 8, Paul follow up his lament over the “sin within” ending chapter 7, with this statement, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.”
Jesus, through the Spirit, comes along side and helps us become obedient. But the marker that this is actually happening is obedience! What Paul points out is that, because of Jesus, we can be obedient if we simply “walk by the Spirit” rather than “walking by the flesh” (Rom. 8:5). “Walking”, to Christian Scripture authors, means to “conduct ones life”, it’s how we live. So if how we live is through the Spirit of Jesus, then we will live by different values than we find pushed on us by our culture. We will discover we are living out this pattern Jesus speaks of in Luke 6.
Choices = Our Part of the Building Process
But it does come down to choices. I have to make them every day. I can’t explain away my choices by blaming others or pointing out how I’m excused for whatever reason. I can’t minimize the effects, or claim I’m not hurting anyone or whatever. I’m lying when I do that. The truth is that God sees all that I do and think and it wounds His heart to see one of His children reject Him and choose the dying world. These things come home regardless of whether my family knows, and affects my relationship with them through shame, regret, anger, and so on. Sins I commit in secret destroy my life in front of everyone. And my Father, my Master, my Friend wants to protect me from that. And you too.
So, only when I live as Jesus is Lord and Master of my life does my life reflect the life Jesus describes here. As He says, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say?” So when I walk in His Spirit, I live out my submission to Him. But what does that mean, “to walk in the Spirit”? I believe it means that I worship my Master with all I do. Worship happens when I actively work and even relax declaring how great is our God.
So the solution to obedience is worship? Do you think you can become disobedient while worshiping? I know that, in the midst of worship, singing with my “peeps” at my church, I can become distracted by something or someone, and suddenly entertain a sinful thought. But if I return to worship, the entertainment ends. It’s my choice. And I can’t blame the other person or thing, it’s my choice. Either way, God is great, and His glory covers all the earth.
Now focus on worship is a gross oversimplification. I admit that. But starting there enables a greater focus on Jesus’ Kingdom here on earth. We have to call Jesus Lord, it’s one of the most powerful statements that can pass our lips. But we also have to live out that truth in our lives, which is the most powerful life we can live. Start with worship, allow the Spirit of Jesus to draw you into a discovery of His Kingdom around you, and live there. We will really mess with our neighbor’s heads. I promise you. It’s a sort of entertainment all it’s own, and it’s better than anything on TV.
Now, what’s your view through the knothole?