Wednesday, July 18, 2012

July 18 - Nothing More than a Performance

Today's Reading:
Ezekiel 33:1-34:31
Matthew 17:10-27
Proverbs 16:8-17
Click on Text Link to Read Online

Focus Verses:
Ezekiel 33:30-33
30 "As for you, son of man, your countrymen are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, 'Come and hear the message that has come from the LORD.' 31 My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. 32 Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice. 33 "When all this comes true—and it surely will—then they will know that a prophet has been among them."

People would come to hear Ezekiel prophesy, but their hearing didn't move them toward doing. They would listen to him, they found him to be entertaining, even inspirational, and they invited others to come along with them. They would nod their heads in agreement and sing songs of devotion with great emotion.

At the end of the day, however, they would go their merry way without acting upon the things he had said. They enjoyed religion, but they were unchanged. They were okay with words and feelings, but these words and feelings were disconnected from the reality of their lives and their hearts. Only after they suffered the consequences of their inaction would they come to understand the practical truth and divine authority of Ezekiel's words.

Response and Action:
Jesus said that wise people not only hear his words, but also put them into practice. When I hear the word of God and fail to act upon it, I am deceiving myself. It is not enough to hear or say words, enjoy teaching, or sing Christian songs; my faith must be lived out in real and tangible ways. Hearing without doing is worthless.

O God, thank you for your word. Give me a receptive heart and give me the wisdom to put your word into practice. Help me to demonstrate my faith in the Bible in the ways I act upon what it says. I believe the Scriptures to be God-breathed and I believe they are useful. As I read and meditate upon your Word, give me the wisdom to be taught, corrected, rebuked, and equipped for every good work. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Spiritual Formation Verses: James 2:14-17
14 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Faith Works
by Jim Wallis

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