For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. Romans 2:13
My husband just began a sermon series on the book, Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman. The premise of this book is that many of our churches in the United States are really good at making fans of Jesus, but not true followers. He says that our sanctuaries have become more like stadiums, where pastors and worship teams work to make Jesus more attractive and appealing to folks to get them in the door. Sunday worship becomes the week's entertainment, but not much more. Churches work hard to make Jesus "cool", which is really the last thing Jesus ever wanted to be.
I finished up a Bible study this weekend on the life and teachings of the Apostle Paul. I was trying to decide where to go next. I like alternating Bible study using book guides with Bible study using God as a guide! :-) I decided to light on the book of Romans for a bit because, quite frankly, I don't like it. I know that in the realms of theological study this statement is absolute heresy!! The Book of Romans is the foundation of our faith! Martin Luther actually taught that it should be memorized word for word by all Christians! However, I must confess that often when a passage of Romans is presented to me to read all I hear in my head is: "Wahmp, whamp whamp, whamp whamp...." (Do you get the Charlie Brown reference?) It's too heady for me, which is precisely why I felt convicted to spend a little more time digging deeper with the Spirit through Romans. And what did God give me? A verse that ties in perfectly with the things I've been thinking about these past few days!! God never ceases to amaze and inspire me! :-)
Paul says in verse 2:13 that it is not those who hear the law who are righteous, but those who do something with it. It's not enough to go to church every couple of Sundays and politely listen to what the pastor is saying about the Word of God. It's not enough to go to a women's event once or twice a year and feel good about God. It's not enough to listen to K-Love while driving to and from work and occasionally humming along to the songs. That's what fans do. God doesn't want fans. He wants followers. "Come, follow me," Jesus said.
If we simply take in the Word, then our lives never change. God wants to come bursting into our hearts and start rearranging furniture, not sit down and have a cup of tea! The life of a follower is one of action. We hear God's Word and act on it. We bring his Word to others. We seek out ways to show his love to others. We think and meditate on his Word. We let it soak into our souls so that it may pour out of us into the world. Do you know what Jesus called those who merely heard and recited the Law of Moses, rather than putting it into practice? White sepulchres; pretty tombs. There was nothing there beneath the surface.
I don't know about you, but I don't want to be a pretty tomb. I want my life to be vibrant. I want deep springs of water bubbling forth from my soul. I want to be a follower, running out on the field instead of sitting in the stands. It's hard work, there's not a lot of glory here on Earth, it's not glamorous and there's a greater chance of injury. But Paul says God's followers will be declared righteous in the end. And what could we ever hope to earn more than the favor of our Lord and Creator?
Blessings and Peace,