The storm is coming! The storm is coming! The bald weather guy is out reporting! Buy water, gasoline, batteries and food. Shutter up the house and wait. Some of us have been there. These actions are last-minute, knee-jerk reactions to the more imminent threat of danger. The experts say that most of our preparation can be done ahead of time so that we are not frantically running around with everyone else fighting over D batteries. This translates into our spiritual lives. How can we be ready? What are some things we can do ahead of the big storm?
It should be obvious that we can’t just hear the warning. We must take action. “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them…” (Matt. 7:24). James says, “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves” (1:22). Jesus said, “He who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter” (Matt. 7:22b).
Jesus mentions several things in the Sermon on the Mount that will keep us doing and not just hearing. He told us where to lay up treasure (Matt. 6:19-21). This treasure could not be taken away from us or distract us from our ultimate goal. It keeps our hearts focused on heaven. He told us to put the kingdom and God’s righteousness first in our lives (Matt. 6:33). In doing so, our focus shifts from ourselves to the church. What can we do with our lives that is best for the bride of Christ? We don’t seek after man-made righteousness but what God has established for us (Rom. 10:1-4). By heeding His words, we need not have anxiety for the future.
His words provide the basis for a solid foundation on which to build a life. The kind of life that will avoid being misled by false prophets—#fakenews (Matt. 7:15-20). A life that will seek the straight and narrow path that leads to eternal life (Matt. 7:13-14). With Christ as our foundation, we will live the kind of life that treats people differently than the world (Matt. 7:12). The kind of life that will pray and receive the good gifts God desires to give His children (Matt. 7:7-11). The kind of life that will not be judged by some harsh, inconsistent and hypocritical standard (Matt. 7:1-6) but by the pure law of liberty (Jas. 2:12). We will have the kind of life where necessities are provided (Matt. 6:30-34). Living in this way, we will be provided a barrier for materialism and anxiety (Matt. 6:22-29), remembering always that our acts of righteousness are to please God, not men (Matt. 6:1-18)—a righteousness that surpasses tele-evangelists and the guy in the hat (Matt. 5:20-28).
Maybe this was a reminder for us to keep our house in order. Maybe this was a wakeup call, an alert to imminent danger. Whatever it is, we can be ready for the storm.