At the beginning of Jesus’ parable of The Wise and Foolish Builders found in Luke 6:46-49, Jesus says these words,
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’, and do not do what I say?”
Good question. Why do I struggle so much to build my life upon the words of my Lord Jesus? Why do you?
Last week I put my four year old daughter, Madi, down for a nap. It wasn’t long until I heard the thump, thump, of footsteps coming back down the stairs. Madi hates naps. And to add to that, she wasn’t all that tired anyway. She asked me if she could watch a movie instead. So, I decided to make her a deal and I promised her that if she cleaned up all the toys in the play room first, then she could watch a movie. She nodded her head in agreement and went to cleaning, while I finished some work in my office.
It wasn’t long until she came in and said, “Dad, I’m hot! This is too hard! I want another deal!”. I responded, “You can do it! I know it’s hard, but you are a big girl and a great helper!” She wasn’t taking the bait. “NO! I want another deal! I’m not moving until I get another deal!” She said, as she crossed her arms and sat down on the floor of my office.
In that moment God began to speak to me. There are so many times where, God makes us a promise, but it comes paired with a process.
Did you know that God has a promise for your life? In Jeremiah 29:11, God spoke a promise to the Israelite people, to which we today get to be beneficiaries through a relationship with Jesus. He said,
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”
God’s promises for you are so, so good. Promises to give you freedom, forgiveness, and hope for a brighter future. Promises to fill your life with joy and satisfaction. Promises to protect you and provide for your needs.
Jesus’ parable of the wise and foolish builders echoes these promises. The wise builder, who built his house on the rock, was protected through the storm. Can you see the process that proceeds the promise for protection and provision?
Jesus is telling us that the firm foundation for the promises of God to be built upon are obedience to the word of God. God can’t, and won’t, deposit his promises on a shaky foundation. Why? He knows they’ll be wasted. He knows they won’t last, because you’ve provided nothing of substance to support what he wants to give you.
God has a promise for your life. But have you ever considered that there’s a process you must progress through in order to build the foundation to receive the promise? Maybe, you’re waiting on God to move, when in reality, he’s waiting on you to take the next step.
You’re still sitting on something you know you need to do, but have neglected to do it. You’re still dabbling with a situation of sin that God has already spoken to you about. You’re still pursuing that thing, putting energy into something, when you know that it’s not leading anywhere good.
You’re waiting for an easier command, a simpler calling, a clearer path, another sign…although you already know that God has clearly called you to step out in faith. You know you’ve got to start something, change something, do something…but you’ve been dragging your feet.
You’ve sat down, crossed your arms, and are waiting for God to change the deal.
God moves us forward in stages and steps.
You can’t reach stage two, until you’ve traversed stage one. You don’t get to stage three, until you’ve passed through stages one and two. There are also steps. Steps are smaller than stages. You might have to walk out several baby steps in stage one before you ever reach stage two. And sometimes, in this process of taking next steps of obedience to the call of God in your life, it doesn’t feel like you’re getting anywhere fast.
Eugene Peterson said,
“True discipleship is long obedience in the same direction.”
Discipleship isn’t about being fast, it’s about being faithful.
Faithful discipleship is progressing forward in obedience to the words and commands of God in your life. As you do so, step by step, block by block, you are building a foundation on which God can deposit his promises for you. His good, good promises to bless you, provide for you, and protect you through the storm, no matter what comes your way. His promises to give you a hope and a future.
We live in an age of instant. Instant food. Instagram. Instapot…we want everything now.
You can’t Instapot God’s promises for your life!
God’s recipe for your life is, obedience + time = promise. This is what “long obedience in the same direction” is all about. This is what it looks like to follow Jesus.
You can’t receive the promise God wants for you, if you quit the process God’s taking you through.
Jesus said, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’, and do not do what I say?” Either Jesus is Lord OF all, or he’s not Lord AT all. Which is he for you?
What’s the one thing that you clearly know God is calling you to do right now? The one next step? The one clear action?
Be obedient to that today, and start building the foundation to receive the promises of God in your life right now.