Together in Christ: 'Finding Freedom & Fellowship in Obedience' — Matthew 7:24-27

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

[Jesus said to the disciples:] "Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won't collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn't obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash."

— Matthew 7:24-27 NLT

Key Thought

Jesus' ministry was about making disciples who make disciples. [1] Those being mentored by a proven teacher have a clear goal: becoming like their teacher, their mentor. [2] For us as disciples of the Christ, discipleship means we put Jesus' teaching and example into practice in our daily lives, whether we are alone or with others. The Lord put it this way:

Jesus said to the people who believed in him, "You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." [3]

In case we miss the essentiality of putting Jesus' teachings into practice in our lives, James — Jesus' half-brother [4] — said it clearly:

But don't just listen to God's word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don't obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don't forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. [5]

Both Jesus and James emphasized the foolishness of knowing about Jesus and then failing to obey His teaching and ignoring His example. They also both stressed that freedom to become all God created us to be could only occur when we obey Jesus and follow Him as our Lord. Part of the power of obedience is that it brings us into fellowship with other believers who share this common goal [6] and it releases the power of the Holy Spirit to transform us with increasing glory into the likeness of Jesus. [7]

Bottom line, cornbread reality:

  • We can never fully know the truth unless we obey the teachings of Jesus.
  • Freedom to become all we are meant to be only happens when we obey Jesus.
  • We are brought into a loving and eternal relationship with other disciples because we live by the principles, values, example, and teaching of Jesus as our Lord.
  • We are fools if we know about Jesus and don't live by His teaching.
  • If we profess to believe in Jesus while living by worldly values, our lives will ultimately collapse. When we live this way, we forget who we are, Whose we are, and the grace that has redeemed us.
[1] Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 3:13-19.
[2] Luke 6:40; Colossians 1:28-29.
[3] John 8:31-32.
[4] James is listed as one of Jesus' brothers (Matthew 13:55). Jesus revealed himself to His brother, James (1 Corinthians 15:3-7), who had originally doubted His role as Messiah (John 7:1-5). James went on to play a leading role in the early church in Jerusalem (Acts 1:14, 12:16-17, 15:13-21, 21:18; Galatians 1:19, 2:9) and appears to have written the epistle given his name (James 1:1).
[5] James 1:22-25.
[6] 1 John 1:1-4.
[7] 2 Corinthians 3:17-18.

Today's Prayer

Precious and holy Father, I know in my heart that I will know Jesus more fully only as I obey what He taught and seek to follow His example in how I live both in my private life and with others. I am asking for the help of the Holy Spirit to help my head believe what my heart knows about obedience. I confess that the world and the lies of the evil one influence me. I know Satan wants me to believe that my freedom is found in doing what I want when I want to get what I want. Deep in my heart, however, I know this is a lie that Satan uses to deceive and enslave me. As I follow Jesus, I trust that You, O Holy Spirit, are transforming me — heart, soul, mind, and body — to become more like Jesus, my Lord. I ask that this will be so more and more with the help of my brothers and sisters in Christ. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • James 2:14-26
  • Hebrews 11:1-40

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Illustration

Illustration of Matthew 7:24-27 NLT — [Jesus said to the disciples:] "Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won't collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn't obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash."

About This Devotional

Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.

'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.