January 31 I Thursday
“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.” —Matthew 7:24
The final story Jesus gives in the Sermon on the Mount is possibly the most familiar. It is the story of two men who each built a house, which to all appearances were equal until a storm broke. The rain hammered down, the streams rose and the winds beat against the houses. One of them stood firm; the other fell with a great crash.
The difference between the two houses was the foundations on which they were built. One was built on sand, and the other on rock. The assumption frequently made is that the sand represents a foundation built on anything but Christ, and the rock represents a foundation in Christ. This is not the case. Jesus said the wise man who built his house on the rock was the man who “hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice.” The foolish man who built his house on sand was the man who hears the words of Jesus but does not put them into practice. The rock represents obedience and the sand disobedience.
It has been said that the greatest need of many Christians is not to know more but to obey what they already know. To listen without obedience is deception. James tells us, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22). Spiritual growth is more than an intellectual process; it is a volitional process. The Word of God is only effectively read and understood from a disposition of submission and obedience to God.
The more we know, the more our capacity for sin increases. James tells us, “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them” (James 4:17). It is a sobering thought to realize every new lesson we learn, which does not meet with a response of submission, creates a new avenue for sin. With knowledge and understanding comes responsibility, and it is submission to the Word of God and obedience to the will of God that are our rock foundation in Christ.
New trends, religions, philosophies and new age thinking will come and go, but as Peter says, “…the word of the Lord endures for ever” (1 Peter 1:25). Jesus tells us, “Anyone who loves Me will obey My teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them” (John 14:23). Obedience to the will of God is the rock foundation where Christ is our stability and security that weathers the fiercest of storms.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank You again for the Sermon on the Mount. May I take Your teachings to heart and be obedient to them in dependence on You.