Believing and Obeying

My post a couple of weeks ago talked about the need to focus on making disciples of Jesus, not just converts. If you haven’t gotten the chance to take a look at that yet, just click here. I plan to piggy-back off of that topic a little bit.

Recently I have been going through a Bible reading plan with my sister (hi Heather!) and a few others. The plan takes you through the entire New Testament in 30 days. That means a whole lot of Bible in a very little time! Although it has been challenging, it has also been incredibly rewarding. (Not to mention that it has supplied me with quite a few blog post ideas.)

And as I was reading a particular passage for that day’s reading, it really stuck with me. It stuck with me to the point where I wanted to write about it. And so here we are!

First, take a moment to read and think through the passage below. After the passage there will be a few thoughts and remarks. Again, just like the post about converts, this is not going to be theologically dense or mind-blowing. However, it will be practical and perhaps stretching. It’s alwasy more difficult to do something than to just think about something. Maybe you’ll do a little of both.

“Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and don’t do the things I say? I will show you what someone is like who comes to Me, hears My words, and acts on them: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. When the flood came, the river crashed against that house and couldn’t shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The river crashed against it, and immediately it collapsed. And the destruction of that house was great!” Luke 6:46-49

Often times Christianity centers on believing the right thing to get “saved.” I have talked before about how salvation might not necessarily just be about being saved from hellfire. Salvation might not only be about being saved from something but being saved for something. Salvation may be about being brought into a new way of life that is consistent with the Kingdom of God.

If salvation is believing that Jesus paid a debt so that you won’t have to, then we won’t need to give a lot of thought to obeideince and lifestyle change. Now I’m not saying that anyone who frames salvation that way would ever advocate that sort of mindset. What I am saying is that salvation as inclusion into the Kingdom of God and a new way of life doesn’t have that particular worry. To believe that the Kingdom of God has burst forth this side of resurrection Sunday, and that we have been made a part of it, gives a clear call to a lifestyle change. The delcaration that Jesus is now King (or Lord) means that we are seeking to allign ourselves with the Kingdom now in power and not the one on the way out.

This puts Jesus’ words here into a greater focus. Think about believing in Jesus, not just for a get-out-of-hell-free card, but for salvation into a new way of life. A life in abundance that He seeks to give us (John 10:10). Now with this in mind go back and read the passage again. See if it gives more clarity or motivation.

Jesus tell us that we should obey him, but not just for any reason. He is seeking to give us that life in abundance. Jesus’ commands aren’t to be some sort of killjoy. They are supposed to give life. They are supposed to shelter us from the upcoming storms of life. He is seeking to protect us from the consequences of our own sinful actions and how they play out. The times when I feel as if the momentary pleasure is worth the breaking of God’s way of life I quickly find myself face to face with the result of my actions: brokeness. Brokeness of my nearness to God, of my nearness to those around me (family, friends, others), and of myeslf in general. It turns out that doing things my way is a greater killjoy than if I were to simply do things Jesus’ way. Harder in the moment? Absolutley, but so worth it in the long run.

Jesus has brought with Him the Kingdom of God. It is countercultural, bold, beautiful, radical, and life-changing. He tells us the way to partake in this new mode of life. He gives us the path to salvation. He shows us what it means to be one of the people of God. He invites us in to a new way of life that promises we will not face condemnation but will have peace. Think about the way of life Christ prescribes for us and think of the ways in which you stray from it. God wants you to truly expereince salvation and to trust Him when He says that He delights to give us the Kingdom (Luke 12:32).

Consider fully expierencing salvation by doing more than just believing, expiereince the joy that comes with obeying.


Image by Walt Jabsco vis flickr

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Curtis Snell

I am first and foremost someone who is trying to follow the example and teachings of Jesus. I serve on the pastoral staff of a church in Iowa and I love writing, reading, and my dog Pepper.

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