A Little FartherDo you hear much about lament in your local church?
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Anyone who listens to My teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock (v.24).
In many parts of the world, it’s an amazing time to be a Christian. Most of us can walk down the street and find a church to join. If none interests us, we can go online and download our favorite preacher’s sermons in minutes. Hours and hours of biblical teaching for free. And Scripture! Most of us can read the Bible in our own language and in many different versions. We can buy it in softcover, red-letter, and slim-line formats. We can read it, listen to it, or watch it dramatized. Bible commentaries and devotional iPhone apps are ours for the downloading.
We can watch Christian TV, listen to Christian radio, comment on Christian websites, and download Christian music in every genre imaginable. And what about the Christian gifts we can buy! Cups, calendars, T-shirts, and fridge magnets all adorned with Bible verses so we can always be immersed in the Word. What a treat!
Or, perhaps, what a distraction?
Jesus finished His Sermon on the Mount with a warning. But simply listening to His words amounts to nothing. What matters is that we put them into practice— being salt and light in our communities (Matthew 5:13), choosing reconciliation over bitterness (vv.Matthew 5:21), choosing faithfulness over lust (vv.Matthew 5:27), keeping our promises (vv.Matthew 5:33), loving our enemies (vv.38-48), keeping our spirituality pure (Matthew 6:1), worshiping God above possessions (vv.Matthew 5:19), refusing to condemn others (vv.1-6), and following Jesus down the narrow road of discipleship (vv.Matthew 5:13). Those who do this will weather life’s storms well (vv.Matthew 5:24). Those who don’t will be swept away (vv.Matthew 5:26).
For many of us, listening to another sermon or reading another Christian book is the last thing we need. Close the book. Switch off the iPod. Go. Act. Face the issue of discipleship you’re avoiding.
How should your belief in Jesus affect your actions? What part of His teaching are you avoiding putting into practice? Why?
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