It's More Than Listening

Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great. Luke 6:46-49

The house we owned when we lived in Fort Worth was a money pit—it was always demanding more money from us and never living up to our expectations. There was something always breaking and needing repair. I’m not a handyman and I’m cheap. I’m always willing to attempt a repair myself if it can keep the money in my wallet. One weekend I decided to do some plumbing repair. My wife, Kendall warned me not to get over my head but I told her that I had everything under control. I said, “I’m simply going to shut the water off at the street, open all the valves in the house and back apartment, and then see how far I can get with the repair. If I feel like I’m in over my head, I’ll call a plumber.” It became quickly apparent that I had no prayer of solving our plumbing dilemma. I told Kendall that I was going to throw in the towel and call a plumber. I said, “I’m going to turn the water back on at the street.” Kendall emphatically replied, “Don’t you think you should shut off all the valves inside before you turn the water back on. You know our upstairs bathroom sink does not drain well. It might overflow!” In my heart I said, “Kendall, young sapling, calm down. The master is in the house.” Outwardly I responded, “I’ve got it all under control.” I exited the house and turned the water back on at the street. I then made my way around the house beginning in the garage apartment and shut off all the open valves and faucets. By the time I made it inside Kendall had detected that something had gone wrong. She said, “you did turn off the faucet in our bathroom didn’t you? Look! There’s water dripping into our living room.” Immediately I rushed upstairs and into our room. The floor of our bedroom and bathroom was ankle deep in water. Kendall was right and I was very, very wrong. I ran downstairs and pleaded for help. I said, “You were right, I was wrong. You can be mad at me later but I desperately need your help.”

Unfortunately this is a fairly accurate picture of how I relate to God and His instruction for my life. Perhaps the same is true for you. For the most part I know what God’s Word says and what He expects. My bookshelves are loaded with Christian books. My iTunes Library is full of wonderful sermons. I regularly attend Bible Studies and Worship and I encourage others to do the same. God’s instruction is constantly coming into my life but I’m slow to act upon it. How about you?

In Luke 6 Jesus addresses this halfway, half-hearted Christian living by telling a story about two churchgoing men. Both of them have bookshelves loaded with Christian books and their iTunes libraries are filled with wonderful sermons. Yet there is a fundamental difference between the two men.

The Christian life is much more than just listening to what God has to say you. God expects us to be doers of His word and not simply hearers. We must practice what God’s Word preaches. Our faith and our works must go hand in hand. God’s Word is not a suggestion for us to ponder—it’s not food for thought. God’s Word is His authoritative instruction for our lives. We must obey Him for His glory and for our good. God is our Father and He certainly knows best. He instructs us in the way that we should go so that it will go well with us. He always has our best interest in mind. Won’t you live for Him!