24Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it. —Matthew 7:24-27
The heavy winds and rain we were driving through did not deter my wife and I from enjoying one of our best conversations in weeks. Then we heard it. It was the familiar warning tone that pierced the music playing on the radio that got my attention. Just as I leaned in to hear the storm warning, Andrea reached for the volume control, silenced the competition, and continued her sentence.
Although I value my wife’s words, I immediately turned the volume up louder than her. “I need to hear if we are in danger, “ I said explaining why I looked at her the way I was. She responded, “Oh, I thought it was a test of the Emergency Broadcasting System.” Unfortunately, her familiarity with the tone actually resulted in her ignoring the warning. We were safe for the remainder of the trip, but I couldn’t help thinking this is exactly what people do with God’s warning about how they live their lives.
Many people put themselves in grave danger because they ignore the storm warning Jesus gave at the conclusion of His Sermon on the Mount. Jesus is clear that storms are coming for everyone. Your roof will be pounded with rain. Your floor will be flooded with rivers. The walls will be pressed with wind. Storms will come in the form of relational conflict, sickness, and suffering. Storms are an inevitable part of life. How we respond to the warning if what differentiates us.
The parable in Matthew 7 gives fair warning about what’s coming. Both men Jesus identified actually heard His words, but only the wise man did anything about them. The other just kept on doing what he was doing. The result was total destruction. “And great was the fall of it” (Matt. 7:27). It could have been avoided had the warning been heard and heeded.
The only difference between the life that stands and the life that falls is whether the words of Jesus are obeyed. It’s that simple. Obedience is the only wise response to the foundational teachings of Jesus. His words are not just to be appreciated, studied, memorized, and preached. They are to be obeyed.
The number of people who sit in church each week, read the bible, and even teach it who don’t actually obey is staggering. Familiarity with the words of Jesus can actually enable people to be deceived into thinking they are obeying them.
Have you heard what Jesus taught about loving your neighbor, forgiving your enemy, investing your treasure in eternal things, seeking God in prayer, or repenting of self-righteousness? We can’t stop there and just listen. We must do something in obedience. The wisest thing anybody can do is obey. Otherwise the fall will be great. The stakes couldn’t be higher.
Don’t silence the storm warning. Obey!
- What are the storm warnings in my life? How do I usually respond when “the alarm sounds?”
- Have there been times in my life when my familiarity with the Word or church attendance led me to believe I was obeying more than I actually was?
Prayer – Almighty Father, there are so may times when I turn the volume down on You and go my own way. I honestly don’t know why I do that because it never goes well. Help me to trust You enough to obey Your Word. Forgive my unbelief and pride to think I can manage on my own. In Jesus’ name, Amen.