Putting It Into Practice
Scripture Reading — James 1:19-27
"Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is ... wise ..." Matthew 7:24 —
As we finish this month's devotions on Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, I hope you are putting the Lord's words into practice. It's not enough to hear his words. As James says, "Do not merely listen to the word ... Do what it says" (James 1:22).
Jesus did not preach his sermon so that you and I could simply hear his words and "be amazed at his teaching" (Matthew 7:28). Jesus expects us to act on those words. What a joy it is for me as a preacher to see changed lives in response to the message--lives transformed by the good news of Jesus Christ. Jesus says, "Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on a rock." Living by true wisdom means following God's way through life. It means trusting God and obeying God, doing what's right in all things to the glory of God (see 1 Corinthians 10:31).
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who lost his life standing up against Nazi Germany, wrote a book called The Cost of Discipleship. The cost of being a follower of Jesus and a citizen of God's kingdom is obedience--practicing what we believe. It may mean hardship and suffering, because the world is hostile to the message of Christ. But just as God strengthened Jesus for his mission, so the Holy Spirit strengthens us to live for him.
Lord, by the power of your Spirit, help us to put Jesus' words into practice each day. Help us to be faithful to you despite hardships we may face, to your honor and glory. Amen.