In Freedom That Lasts we’ve been looking at the Sermon on The Mount and discussing God’s plan for freedom. It’s been a way of life that God has prescribed for mankind throughout the ages. We can even see it in the Old Testament in passages like this one in Proverbs.
(17) Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge.
(18) For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips. (Proverbs 22)
This is Solomon admonishing his son, but the picture is of God speaking to His dear children. The plan is just three steps with a guaranteed outcome:
“Bow down thine ear.” God isn’t asking us to do anything we cannot do. He’s not asking us to climb the highest mountain or to perform the greatest feat. He’s asking us to do the one thing we can all do: bow to Him.
Hear what God has to say:
“Hear the words of the wise.” When Jesus said, “He who hath ears to hear let him hear,” He didn’t mean for His audience to just hear His words; He wanted His audience to listen with intent. That can only come with a heart willing to apply itself to God’s truth. If you have no heart for God, someone can scream His truth at you, and you won’t hear a word. But if your heart is inclined toward God, the Lord can whisper His truth to you in a still, small voice and you’ll hear every syllable.
Do what God says:
“Apply thine heart unto my knowledge.” Listening with intent manifests itself in action. If God’s Word says to stop doing something, you stop doing it. If God’s Word says to start doing something, you start doing it. When God calls something sin, so do you. When His Word calls something righteous, so do you. Hearing God’s word, not doing it and then blaming God for how your life turned out is a bit like buying a cookbook hoping to get some good meals out of it but not following any of the recipes and getting mad at the publisher because you’re still hungry.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are straightforward. The recipe is pretty much in the name. God’s directions for living a blessed life are straightforward too. They’re peanut-butter-and-jelly simple, but so often we put the peanut butter and jelly on the outside of the sandwich and wonder why our lives are such a sticky mess. God’s way is simple – not always easy, because it will cost us – but it is always simple.
What is the guaranteed result? Freedom that lasts:
“For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips.” What this is promising is not a life of ease, but a life balanced and stabilized by God’s truth living in our heart and coming out in our lives. Life is going to throw us curve balls. It is going to blindside us, but a life stabilized by God’s truth doesn’t have to be ruled by its circumstances; it can be ruled by the stability that comes from a life walked in truth of God.