At the end of Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount, He ends the message with a call to action. Jesus reminds us that it’s not enough to know truth; truth must be put into practice.
Jesus says there are two paths; one is wide & the other is narrow. He also says there are two trees; one produces good fruit and the other produces bad fruit. Finally, He says there are two foundations; one house is built on a rock and the other is built on sand. The paths, the trees, and the foundation are all illustrating that there is no middle ground in Kingdom of God. We are either on the right path, producing good fruit, and building our lives on a firm foundation…or we are not.
The end of Jesus’ sermon begs questions: How do I know if I’m on the right path? How do I know if I’m bearing good fruit? How do I know if I’m building my life on the right foundation? Thankfully Jesus answers these questions for us.
Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
Matthew 7:24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”
Obedience to God’s Will and God’s Word is the true test of our faith in Christ. A heart that has been truly converted is a heart that is inclined towards obedience. Jesus said, “if you love me, you will keep my commandments”. A mark of our spiritual maturity is when we start to obey because we love. God’s goal for us is to obey Him NOT because we have to but because we get to.
Obedience to God’s Will and God’s Word is not about following a list of rules or laws or performing religious activities. The spiritual discipline of obedience is about a life that “yes” to whatever God asks of us. It’s about a life that is completely surrendered to Christ. Obedience is about being completely surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus. Ultimately obedience boils down to: Only Jesus & ALL of you!
So, how do we begin to develop a heart that’s inclined towards obedience? We begin obeying what we know Jesus has already told us to do. It begins by obeying the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. We start by loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength…loving our neighbor as ourselves…and making disciples of all nations. Love God, Love Others, Make Disciples!
As we love God, love others, and make disciples we will begin to learn God’s ways and become more and more like Jesus. As we become more like Jesus, we will know instinctively what actions and decisions will please Him. Our intimate fellowship with God gives us an inward knowledge of the ways of God which produces outward obedience to the Will and Word of God.