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A Matter of What You Do With God's WordA Matter of What You Do With God's Word
by Bill Denton

Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. (Matthew 7:24,26 NAS)

What made the difference between the wise man and the foolish man? It wasn’t knowledge, because they both heard the same sermon. They went to the same conference; they had the same knowledge. They both heard the Word. Not only that, they had the same circumstances. It says that the rain descended, the floods came, the winds blew and beat upon the house of the wise man as well as the foolish man. The circumstances were the same. One couldn’t say, “Well, you don’t know how tough it is where I come from.” “Well, you don’t know what kind of a family life I’ve got.” “You don’t know how I suffer down at work.” It wasn’t their circumstances that made the difference. One thing made the difference between wisdom and foolishness. One obeyed the Word; the other one did not.
Lorne Sandy, “Marks of a Disciple,” Discipleship Journal, Issue 61.

    OK, let’s have a “pop” test. Are you wise or foolish?

    No hesitating now. The answer is probably obvious. Oh, did I remind you to be sure to use Jesus’ evaluation system? All you have to do is admit that you act on what you learn from Jesus or that you don’t.

    Perhaps the truth is that we know about some of Jesus’ teachings that we do use. We’ve managed to learn them, trust them, and use them. We probably want very much to point to those things and say, “See, I’m a wise man (or woman).” Unfortunately, we might also know of some other teachings that we’ve written off, dismissed as irrelevant, or rejected. We certainly can’t say that we’ve willingly and eagerly put those things to work in our lives. Still, it’s not easy to use the words, “foolish man (or woman),” about ourselves.

    Lorne Sandy goes on to mention something that is often unsaid about obeying God’s word: obedience requires courage. Take Joshua, for example. When Moses died and the mantle of leadership passed to Joshua, God told him one thing that would best equip him as a leader of God’s people. “Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:7, NAS) One might focus on the admonition of God to obey what he said, but there is a very obvious quality that seems to enable that obedience — courage.

Too many people are lacking that one essential ingredient called courage.
    We live in a God-rejecting, unbelieving, and hate-filled world. Believers have long been ridiculed and persecuted. The world would be quite satisfied to get rid of all reminders of God, and for many, that includes getting rid of the people who believe in God and seek to do his will. The very fact that someone obeys God is a condemnation of everything and everyone that is not godly. It is a gross fallacy to think that being a Christian is somehow being a wimp. It takes real courage and inner strength to reject the pleasures and temptations of the world for the things of God. It takes courage to stand up to ridicule, persecution, and worse. Perhaps this is why even among professed believers, real obedience is hard to find. Too many people are lacking that one essential ingredient called courage.

    Real disciples are followers of God’s word — not just in the sense of having gone to some Bible class or heard a really motivating speaker expound the scriptures. Real disciples are people who have the courage to go out and use what they learn. They’re wise people because they’ve acted on what they have heard. They don’t just know the right answers,they live them. Quite a difference. It’s called, obedience!

So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the message God has planted in your hearts, for it is strong enough to save your souls. And remember, it is a message to obey, not just to listen to. If you don’t obey, you are only fooling yourself. (James 1:21-22 NLT)
      © Copyright 2001, Dr. Bill Denton, CrossTies, All Rights Reserved. Articles may not be reprinted in any “for profit” publication without further permission by the author. Articles may be freely distributed via e-mail, reprinted in church bulletins or in other non-profit publications without further permission. Please keep this copyright and Web Site information intact with copied articles.

      Title: "A Matter of What You Do With God's Word"
      Author: Bill Denton
      Publication Date: January 30, 2002

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