We so often call ourselves Christians. We look at that as our core identity. We see it as what we truly believe, and we bank on those beliefs as what will get us to heaven when we die. But are we doing what Jesus said we should do?
I am asking the question because Jesus asked the question. I am not the judge and jury. I cannot see into the depths of your heart. But because Jesus asked this question, we should ask the question as well, particularly asking the question to ourselves. And we should embrace the kind of evaluation that the question leads to. We should desire to have people in our lives ask this question of us.
So often we call ourselves Christians, but we do not do what he said. A Christian should have strong evidence in their lives of looking like Christ. That’s what a Christian is. A person who is a follower of Christ. Jesus is telling us that his followers, people who call him Lord, are his disciples who hear what he wants us to do and then does it.
The moral of Jesus’ parable about the two builders is that the person who hears Jesus’ words and obeys them has the kind of life that is honorable to him. So if we are to not only hear his words, but we are to actually do them, what did he say we should do? Here are a couple examples from a few of his most important teachings.
- Greatest Commands. Jesus said “Love God, Love Others.” Deny yourself and put others first. This is the essence of love. He said “take up your cross and follow me.” He said “love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, that you love one another.”
- Great Commission. Be Disciples who Make Disciples. Most Christians know they should be disciples, but my observation is that most of us do not do what Jesus said when he told us to make more disciples.
So how do we apply this teaching on a regular basis? How do we become people who regularly hear the voice of the Lord and do what he says?
We need accountability. We need people in our lives that we can be totally honest with, and that they can be honest with us. Through the experiences of the last 15 years of my life, this is one of the most important concepts I have seen. It is precisely what Jesus is doing in this passage. He is honestly, bluntly confronting the disciples with the truth about their lives. He is holding them accountable. We should be people, as painful as it is to hear the truth about our lives, who seek the truth about ourselves. We should be people who invite honest, accountable feedback. And not just once, but over and over.
This is why the small group concept is something that is so powerful. Get together with a small group of people on a regular basis for discipleship accountability. And every time you get together with that small group you are asking the question Jesus asked: “You call him ‘Lord’, are you doing what he says?”
Read Scripture on a regular basis with a prayerful heart that says “Lord, I want to hear you today and I want to obey.” When you read the word, is there anything that emerges that God is saying “obey”?
As parents we know that children aren’t often thrilled when we say “obey because I said obey!” Is Jesus saying that? No. He is saying if we call him Lord, we’ve put him in the position of leading us. He’s concerned that we’re saying he is Lord, but not living like it.
One of our past seminary presidents, Dennis Hollinger’s books is called Head, Heart, Hands. It is the idea that the knowledge we get into our heads should transform our hearts so that we do something with our hands.
If we believe Jesus’ way is the best way, then then we eagerly desire to know his way, to learn about it, read about it, see it in action, so that it gets inside us, transforms us, changes us so that his way, his Kingdom life is what comes out of us.
We not only know what he wants us to do, then, we have been transformed so that we can do it! And we will find the amazing joy that his way is the best way.