I don’t know about you, but I get convicted of a lot things through various means (devotions, sermons, or spiritual events etc) and then forget about it afterwards. Somehow the messages that were stirring at the time, or the powerful devotions that were enlightening, disappear into oblivion. If the lessons were so important, why aren’t they transitioning into tangible changes?
“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46)
Towards the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus challenges the multitude to be consistent; the title they used to acknowledge Him did not align with their actions. Kurios, the Greek word for Lord means supreme in authority. If they recognised His supremacy, then He shouldn’t have had to remind them to be obedient. Either He was truly Lord of their lives, or they were using the term just for show. In verse 47, three steps are outlined regarding the legitimate use of referring to Him as Lord: coming, hearing, and doing. All in the multitude had succeeded in the the first two steps, but some had clearly fallen short in the latter.
It’s not enough to come and hear if you’re not willing to do.
The parable He uses to cement their understanding of what He’s just shared is that of the wise and foolish builders. In verse 49, it’s evident that the only difference between the builders is that the foolish one omitted the last step (doing), whereas the wise one was diligent in completing all the steps. Whilst it’s wonderful to come to Christ and hear what He says… if you’re not willing to do what you’ve heard, then the coming and hearing was in vain. The consequences of building on sand rather than rock result in “great ruin.” In essence, Jesus is stating that you refuse to ‘do’ at your own risk.
John 8:29, “I always do those things that please Him”, is even more beautiful in light of what was discussed above. Jesus, as always, was preaching what He practised. For Him to spend countless hours in prayer and devotion, and yet not do what God was directing Him to do was not an option. Likewise, pleasing God should be your greatest aim in life; however, it is impossible unless you’re intentional about doing.
The pain of obedience should never be evaded in favour of the comfort of disobedience.
Will doing always be easy? No. Gethsemane was hard for Jesus, but He did it anyway. In fairness, much of what Jesus was called to do (including everything covered in this series so far) probably wasn’t something He wanted to do. Thankfully, you won’t face exactly the same trials as Him, but let His commitment to doing (even at the worst of times) be an inspiration to you.
- Use Lord considerately – are you truly acknowledging Him as such or is it just something you’ve got in the habit of saying? Ask Jesus to show you how to truly make Him Lord of your life.
- Make scripture practical – doing personal Bible study, listening to a sermon, or reading a devotional shouldn’t be ‘tick box exercises.’ The main question you should always ask is how you can apply what you’ve learnt. It’s no good knowing lots if you and others aren’t reaping the benefits of said knowledge.
- Be proactive – one thing I’ve enjoyed doing is outlining the hindrances to me being obedient and actively praying against them. I’ve found that I’m less inclined to use those things as an excuse because I was expecting them (if they come).
- Review your convictions – recently I’ve taken to writing my convictions in my phone as they can sometimes get lost in journal entries. But however you wish to keep track of them, the important thing is that you don’t allow them to wane. The Spirit convicted you of something for a reason. Don’t ignore. Don’t forget.
- Get accountability partners – having someone to check on your progress or remind you of something you once felt strongly about is one way to ensure you stay on the path of doing. Keeping your convictions to yourself is sometimes a recipe for disaster.
Given that many still don’t know Christ, it’s a privilege that we take for granted that we can hear from Him in many ways. It’s often the new believers that are zealous to do because they truly appreciate what they’ve heard and how it’s changed them. If you’re an ‘older’ Christian that’s accustomed to foolish ways (aka not doing), then please think twice about why you call Him Lord (cf Matthew 7:21).