Time Alone With God daily devotional

Time Alone with God daily devotional

Written by Pastor Phil Stout, JAXNAZ church
Monday, August 22

Read: Matthew 7:24-29

Matthew 7:24-29
New International Version (NIV)

The Wise and Foolish Builders
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

Consider: “Yes, but in the real world…” We’ve all heard that. It’s often the opening phrase of a statement from someone who is struggling with the ethics of Jesus Christ. Have you ever heard that approach? Have you ever used it? Well, for most of us, if we haven’t actually said it, we have wondered, “Does that work in the real world?”

When we read Jesus’ teachings on meekness, peace-making, enemy love and turning the other cheek, we can’t help but wonder if they really apply to our world. In day-to-day human interaction, in family relationships, in business and industry, in relationships between communities and nations, it just seems like Jesus’ teachings don’t apply to the real world.

Jesus’ teaching is stunning. It is challenging. It offends us (even if we won’t admit it). If anyone besides Jesus would say those things, we’d dismiss them as naïve or castigate them for being soft and weak when it comes to injustice. Some of Jesus’ words are just hard. Hard to understand. Hard to put in perspective. Hard to live.

But we can’t ignore them. We can’t say that the Sermon on the Mount doesn’t apply to the “real world” or we are calling Jesus naïve. We’re saying that he doesn’t understand life.

We don’t want to go there, so often we try to make Jesus’ words more palatable. We believe that meekness is for safe environments only. It can be practiced among decent people. We believe that we can love when that love is returned. When it is not, we fall back on “loving” by the world’s rules and values.

So when we listen to Jesus instruct us as to how we should live, we have to come with open eyes and attentive ears. We have to humble ourselves enough to admit that we don’t understand the “real world.” The One who created it does. And he understands the world that he wants for you and me and for all of his creation.

Jesus concluded his Sermon on the Mount by saying…

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock…but everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.” (Matthew 7:24, 26)

Pray: “Lord, your teaching on meekness, peace-making, enemy love and turning the other cheek are a rock upon which you want me to build my life. This goes against my engrained way of thinking and judging. Help me to begin to see your real world in the way you see it.”

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