Stop and Listen. Go and Do.

Do you know how to be Jesus’ relative?

Hint. It’s not by blood.

Now Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him, but they were not able to get near him because of the crowd. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.” He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.” (Luke 8:19-21, NIV).

Jesus made this point several times during his ministry, most notably at the very end of the Sermon on the Mount. If you want a vibrant, lasting faith, one “built on a rock,” not one “built on sand,” then listen to God’s word AND put it into practice.

Luke records Jesus expressing the same thought on a different occasion. But the message is very, very similar: If you want a closer, stronger relationship with Jesus, listen to God’s word AND put it into practice in your life.

Even Jesus’ brother James (who was Jesus’ brother by blood!) says it. If you want to stop deceiving yourself and live a life in which you will be “blessed in what you do,” listen to God’s word AND do what it says.

Yes. It’s another one of those teachings in the Bible where there’s an important AND.

None of these verses is talking about salvation. Salvation is all by grace, through faith. And faith comes simply by “hearing the message,” says the apostle Paul in Romans 10.

But maturity? The deepening of the roots of your faith? The lifelong process of sanctification (becoming holy like Jesus)? The growth of your relationship with your Savior — and the resulting fruit such a growing relationship produces?

Jesus is straightforward about that. There’s an AND. Listen to God’s word AND — with the Holy Spirit’s help and power — put it into practice.

Our Bible reading for Tuesday, March 31, is Numbers 29:12 – 31:24, Luke 8:19-39 and Psalm 39:1-13.

Header image based on "Indecision" by Satish Krishnamurthy, CC By 2.0