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. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded 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. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall. When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes. Matthew 7:24-29
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
Our passage today tells us that the crowds were amazed at His teaching. We see this response to Jesus over and over again in the Gospels in regard to his miracles as well. But amazement as a response to Jesus doesn’t cut it! Amazement is not enough! Amazement is being surprised and questioning, “how can this be?” Amazement is hearing extraordinary teaching from Jesus or seeing him do something miraculous and concluding, “it makes no sense” that he can say and do such things. This response to Jesus is no more of a response than when we see an accomplished magician perform an elaborate magic trick and we are left mystified. There is a thrill at being mystified and we want to be mystified over and over again. So, if our response to Jesus is merely one of being astounded or mystified, it means we are not gaining the insight we need to respond properly to him and the reason for this is the issue of a heart that is hardened.
A full response to Jesus means that our hearts have opened up to the reality of who he is and have moved past the mere wonder (amazement) of his Divine behaviors. We come before Jesus in full awareness that we are before the Lord and Master of the universe and we bow in awe, worship, surrender, and devotion. With open hearts filled with the very presence of God Almighty, we are changed forever. The opportunity is ours to respond to Jesus Christ in a full and complete way so that we go forward in the way that he intended for us. Jesus intends that we live out our lives as true disciples. Christian discipleship is essentially about following a course for living life that is absolutely and completely centered in and dependent upon Jesus Christ. Scripture tells us that this course is extremely narrow, goes against the flow of humanity, is filled with obstacles, attracts opposition, resistance, persecution or even death, and requires great endurance.
We are absolutely not capable of following this course apart from an abiding relationship with Christ whereby His presence, power, and provision are poured into us. Such a relationship requires humility, surrender and dependence and herein lies the greatest challenge of this course for life – our willful selves. We want to be in charge, we want to accomplish, we want the glory of a successful Christian life; but that is not Christian discipleship. In Christian discipleship we are on a course of life where we fix our eyes on Jesus, follow Him by faith wherever He leads us, rely totally on His strength, and do it completely for His honor and glory. Jesus tells all “would be” disciples to count the cost of following Him before embarking on the journey. And what is the cost of following the Lord Jesus Christ? - it will cost everything!
Are we willing to pay the cost? Our entire self with all its time, abilities, finances and other resources must be at Christ’s disposal. Anything that gets in the way must be set aside. All personal relationships, vocations, and interests must become as nothing compared to our devotion to Christ and our commitment to His centrality in our lives. In 1 Timothy the apostle Paul says, “For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we should be content.” And then Paul says, “Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.” Life indeed is the life of fruitfulness that comes from trusting Christ to do for us what we cannot do on our own. This is what the true teaching of Jesus the master teacher is all about. This is true discipleship. Hence, his appeal from today’s passage: “Everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house upon a rock.”
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, here I am on the other side of the cross and the resurrection. You live in my heart through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, so that I can always be with you and before you. I ask you to do something about the ways my heart is hardened to the reality of who you are. Help me to enter fully into being with you and before you. Open my heart to the fullness of who you are. I seek to be before you in awe, worship, surrender, and devotion. I want to be a true disciple whose life is built on rock and not sand. I know that following you fully as a true disciple means that I become a truly fruitful Christian. I also know that becoming a truly fruitful Christian means absolutely depending on you through a constantly abiding relationship with you. Help me to surrender my willful self to you and empower me to live fully for you day after day. Amen!
Posted on Thu, January 24, 2019
by Ken Hart