God, a day of opportunity has passed through me. I repent where I have not trusted you this day. For the moments of joy and peace, hope and forgiveness, I thank you. Refresh me in my sleeping that tomorrow I might be even more aware of your love.
We pray for all who face this night in the hospital, for all who wait for a diagnosis, and for those who anxiously await signs of healing. Bless them and their loved ones this night. For new life, we thank you for such a wonderful blessing. Now, as the sun sets upon this day, O God, shelter us beneath your wings and grant us your refreshment and renewal. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ 23 Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’
Hearers and Doers
24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25 The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!”
28 Now when Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astounded at his teaching, 29 for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.
Jesus wasn’t trying to scare people away from serving him. He spoke these words so that he could make an important point: In his kingdom, action cannot be separated from obedience. Read these words again: Action cannot be separated from obedience. Those who hear his word and act on it are building on a solid foundation, while those who don’t listen to his word have nothing to support them, no matter how magnificent their deeds may be. It’s not that they haven’t done anything – in fact, they may be very busy – but they haven’t based their lives on the right foundation.
All of this points to the very special way in which Jesus wants us to listen to his word. Recall that in his first example in this passage, Jesus didn’t rebuke the disciples for not knowing the Scriptures but for not knowing him.
This is the key to the whole passage. Jesus does want us to listen to his word, but he also wants us to look for the person behind them as well, the Word within the word. He wants us to come to him through his word so that our inner lives can be conformed to his likeness. He wants to do so much more in us than teach us the right way to act. He wants to reshape us so that we know the right way to be. He wants to make us new.
Try reading this passage again, only more slowly this time. As you read, take note of whatever words or verses the Spirit highlights in your heart. What is he telling you? Is he asking you to spend more time with him so that you can come to know him? Is he affirming your desire to follow him more closely? Whatever you hear in prayer, resolve to follow through on it – and know that you are building your house on solid rock.
O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.