I find that people who often have the hardest time becoming relational are those who have been in church a long time. If you ask personal questions, they don’t want to talk. They will often point to the Bible and say, “This is all we need for spiritual growth. Read it. Study it. Learn it.”
I’d say yes to all of that, but I’d add one important thing: Live it out in relationship. Yes, we must immerse ourselves is Scripture. We must read Scripture and study Scripture and memorize Scripture and be able to run it forward and backward in our minds. First Peter 2:2 says, “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.” There is a direct correlation between God’s Word and growing up in our salvation.
Yet Peter isn’t saying that merely knowing the Word will grow us up. Knowledge of Scripture without application does nothing. We can study the context and learn the Greek and Hebrew and even memorize a passage backward and forward, but Scripture indicates that the Word must be acted out too. James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
Jesus gave a series of teachings in Matthew 7 about being both hearers and doers of the Word. Notice the teaching woven into the parable of the house on the rock.
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. 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. 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. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house, and it fell with a great crash. (Matt. 7:24-27)
What is Jesus saying?
That’s clear. If you hear the words of God and put them into practice, then your life will be like that of man who built his house on a foundation of rock. But if you hear the words of God and don’t put them into practice, then your life will be like that of a man who built his house on a foundation of sand. Wisdom is contrasted with foolishness. Spiritual maturity is contrasted with spiritual immaturity. Great benefit is contrasted with destruction.
Too many Christians have built their houses on sand or a combination of sand and rock. They are missing an important ingredient in their spiritual lives.
Jim Putman, author of this blog, has written with Chad Harrington a primer called The Death of Discipleship about the danger of pride and importance of humility in disciple making. Download this free resource here.
How do you obey Jesus’ teaching?
The problem is that too many Christians have built their houses on sand or a combination of sand and rock. They are missing an important ingredient in their spiritual lives. They have no real relationships, no ropes that hold them fast. A house built on sand can’t withstand pressure. When the rain and wind come – the enticements of the culture, the lusts of the flesh, the pride of life, the snares of addictions – those houses built on sand will collapse.
Do you have people around you that are ready and willing to jump into the storms in your life and help you stand firm? Do you have those iron sharpening, accountability holding, authentic relationships that are strong enough to work through conflict with you? The kind that will fight through the uncomfortable feelings and share with you when they are offended or hurt, or angry or disillusioned with you? And more importantly, are you that kind of a friend? God wants us to have both relationship with Him and relationships with others – that is where His Word is lived out and where it can cause the most growth.
God wants us to have both relationship with Him and relationships with others – that is where His Word is lived out and where it can cause the most growth.
Written by Jim Putman
This was originally posted on Jim Putman’s blog here. Used with permission.