Saturday, April 11, 2009

Lent '09 - Day 39: Live It

I was catching up with my friend Sean this week, when he made the side-observations that Christians so easily forget that living our faith out is what's really important. This was in the context of him sharing about a parenting conference he went to at a local church that repeatedly emphasized getting your kids "to church". Getting your kids to church can teach them about God, but it doesn't do much to guarantee that they're going to live it. Our western culture holds education as such a high ideal (which in many respects is wonderful), but it carries over to us thinking that we just need to teach people about God.

In light of this comment, it struck me just how many times Jesus talks in Matthew about applying living it. Here's the list:
  • Whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (5:19)
  • 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. (7:24,26)
  • Anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (10:38-39)
  • For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother. (12:50)
  • Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. (16:24)
  • The parables of the two sons. (21:28-32)
  • The parable of the tenants (21:33-46). Specifically, "The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit" (21:43)
  • But do not do what they (the Pharisees) do, for they do not practice what they preach.(23:3)
  • Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. (24:45-46)
  • The parable of the sheep and goats. (24:31-46)
These are just the overt times Jesus says, "you need to live this." This doesn't include all his discussion about producing fruit, being a servant, doing something with what God gave you, etc. Nor does it include all of Jesus' commands, which in their very nature apply action.

My hope for myself and others is that doing this stuff would always be on the tip of our tongues. Getting educated has its place, but we must remember that Jesus' biggest beef was with the most spiritually educated. I'm sure if you read Matthew 23, you'll agree with me that you don't want to be in this camp.

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