“I was reading in Matthew’s gospel earlier this morning,” Stan began, “and I saw something that relates to the hypocrites in the church that we have talked about before.” [Note to reader: See Day 46 of S. Tory Teller’s, Waiting for the Train—Biblical Food for Growing Before Going, “Why are there so many hypocrites in the church?” www.s-toryteller.com]
“More hypocrites?” I replied with a smile.
“Yeah,” Stan replied, “more hypocrites. But this time with much more serious consequences coming from just saying what I think God wants to hear from me, rather than doing what He has for me to do.”
“In what way?” I responded.
“Jesus was talking about those people who give Him lip service by calling Him ‘Lord,’ but go about doing just what they want to do rather than what God has for them to do.”
“That sounds kind of like ignoring the steps of discipleship,” I ventured.
“You’re getting the hang of this discipleship thing!” Stan said with a laugh.
“And,” he continued, “it’s very similar to where I was when I thought all I had to do was attend a weekly church service and say all of the right things, while then going off and doing whatever I wanted. I thought the words were sufficient.”
“And they weren’t?” I asked.
Rather than answering directly, Stan said, “While Jesus does not use the words ‘fool’ or ‘foolish’ to describe such behavior, the Holy Spirit sure did with me when He made it clear that what is wanted is obedience, not just words.”
Concluding, he added, “There’s only one thing that satisfies God’s desire for my obedience, and that is my obedience!”
Bible verses to consider:
Not every one who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Matthew 7:21.
And why do you call Me “Lord, Lord,” and do not do what I say? Luke 6:46.
If you love Me, you will keep my commandments. John 14:15.
Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin. James 4:17.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you make it clear that there is no substitute for obedience. Please forgive all of the times I have called you “Lord,” but have chosen to not do what you have for me to do. Please help me in not just saying empty words to you, but to want to obey what you have for me to be and to do in every instance and in every aspect of my being. You want my obedience, and I want only to obey. With your help and my surrender it will happen and I thank you for that. I also thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: God does not want to hear our empty words. Do you agree with that? Why or why not? Have you ever been in a situation where you called Him, “Lord,” but didn’t do what He had for you to do? If so, what was that all about? Did you learn anything from it? If you sense there is a need to go beyond saying to doing, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want to have happen? Why or why not?