Several years ago my wife and I took on the challenge of renovating our home. The challenge of this endeavor was greatly increased by my own lack of knowledge and expertise in this area. This was even before the age of the popular home renovation shows on HGTV. But fortunately, a good friend came to my rescue. He was a retired contractor that offered to help in this daunting task. Over the next several weeks I followed his example, listened to his instruction, and trusted his skill as we worked together to complete the various projects around our house. At no point in this process did I become arrogant and try to do things “my own way.” My friend was an expert, an authority in this field. And so, I did what he said.
In Matthew 7 Jesus closes out the Sermon on the Mount with an illustration of two men who each built a home for themselves. One man is called wise. He is described in such manner because he built his house on a solid foundation. Jesus equates this to someone who listens to His teaching and puts these teachings into practice. The other man however is called foolish because he does not build his house on a solid foundation. He is compared to those who hear the words of Jesus and choose to ignore them. Jesus tells of how a storm comes to test the strength of the homes. The one built by the wise man on a solid foundation survives. The one built on a sandy foundation by the foolish man is destroyed.
The point Jesus is making is to highlight the importance of obeying His teaching. And what is this teaching? A great example of this is found in the passages preceding this particular parable. Throughout the Sermon on the Mount we are told to guard against anger and lust, love our enemies, pray for those who persecute us, be quietly generous, not be anxious, find our satisfaction in God and not the material pleasures of this world, and treat others as we would like to be treated. The point that Jesus is making is that if we truly love Him we will obey Him (John 14:15). The teachings of Jesus and the Bible as a whole are not meant to simply be studied. They are meant to be obeyed.
But why? Why should we obey the commands of Scripture? The answer is found at the end of Matthew 7. When Jesus finished His teaching the crowds were amazed because He spoke with such authority. Why? Because Jesus was and is not simply a great prophet or teacher. He is the Son of God. Therefore, His words have weight. They have power. They have authority over our lives.
My contractor friend possessed a great amount of knowledge when it came to home renovation. I listened to him and trusted him. He spoke to me as one who had authority. For me to try and do things on my own, or ignore his advice would be incredibly foolish. His words of instruction were for my good and were designed to help me accomplish the task at hand.
God’s Words to us are even more so for our good. Scripture offers us life and tells us how to live it in such a way that will bring us the most joy for the glory of God. It is not meant to be admired or occasionally studied. It is meant to be obeyed. But this obedience cannot be done in our own strength. That is impossible. We need the grace and power of God working in and through us to do what Scripture calls us to do. And so, what is Scripture calling you to do today?