Faith in Action
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash” (Matt. 7:24-27).
by John David Hicks
Plainly, the “rock” represented the Lord Himself and doing what the Word of God says. Jesus said that if you are wise you will put your faith into practice. This gives the Word of God power to make a difference in your life. It starts with what you know, then doing it. Jesus goes on to say, if you hear but fail to act on the Word, your house, your life will fall apart when it is tested. The foolish man is shallow in his thinking and has no solid foundation. He is a person who is “all talk” but has never put his faith into practice.
This parable effectively brings the hearer or reader into a crisis of decision. Both the wise and foolish builders have heard Jesus’ teaching. Will you allow Jesus to be your “rock” by being obedient to His Word in your life? Or will you “do your own thing” and build on sand? The storms will reveal what foundation you build on.
As a Christian: You believe that God is your creator. You believe in the integrity of God’s Word, the Bible. You believe that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. You believe that God loves everybody and wants a relationship with them. You believe that every person is of great worth in the sight of God. You believe that Jesus came to reconcile the world to God, and that everyone who will trust Him as Savior can have the abundant life that He came to give. That’s knowledge—a lot of talk.
You believe, but knowledge only becomes relevant when it is translated into action. Now you must put it into action. James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” How? By walking in the light of what you know. By putting it into practice day-to-day. By proving it in your life. By building on the certainty of God’s Word. That’s your “rock,” your foundation that can’t be shaken. A truth becomes real to you when you experience it.
James 2:21-22 explains this: “Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.” Abraham was justified—made righteous—not by what he believed, but by his corresponding actions to what he believed.
1 John 3:18 gives us the love principle: “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” When you put the Word of God into practice you will see: The gospel lifts up the fallen; gives hope to the despondent; brings healing to the sick, sight to the blind, and hearing to the deaf, value to the worthless, love to the abandoned, forgiveness to the guilty, mercy to the pitiful, joy to the hopeless, prosperity to the unworthy, strength to the weak, acceptance to the outcast, courage to the fearful, enthusiasm to the indifferent, beauty to the unlovely, and life to the dying. That is why Paul said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).
The gospel is alive and at work inside you; “for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Phil. 2:13). “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Eph. 3:20-21). The grace and power of God is in your life. But it must be released by you putting the Word of God into action. The power comes to “those who hear the word of God and obey it” (Luke 11:28).
Let me illustrate this. Let’s say God puts it on my heart to teach or preach on the “Power of Blessing”—how God wants you to bless your children, others, and your enemy. You are moved by the Holy Spirit and say to your spouse, “Yes, we need to bless.” After the service, you tell me that God spoke to your heart—that is knowledge or conviction. The seed of God’s Word has the power to transform you. As you obey the truth by your action the Holy Spirit makes the truth a part of your experience to transform you.
But if in the next few weeks you do not put it into practice, blessing your children, others, and your enemy, then that seed-word will be taken by the devil and the power that could have transformed you will be lost.
Yet, there is a greater tragedy. The truth is not taken from your mind, but it’s locked in. You believe it; you have knowledge. But because you did not put it into practice, it has no power. It locked you into a form without power (2 Timothy 3:5), without a true faith. The next time you hear someone talk about the “Power of Blessing,” you say, “Amen! People need to bless their children, others, and their enemy. Boy, these people sure need to hear this.” You are not the example of the word that was preached, but you sure agree with it. Your faith cannot transform you; it is dead and powerless, like a body without the spirit, says James.
I can point to people who would fight to the death to defend the doctrine of ministering to the poor, but they never minister to the poor. Others believe in being filled with the Holy Spirit with the power to witness, but they never witness. Others believe in healing, but they never pray for the sick.
When your learning is intellectual, you are insulated from personal experience. You can know the Scripture by memory, but if you don’t apply it, the truth is powerless. When you do not obey, the truth cannot transform you.
Jesus sums it up: “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines” (Matthew 15:8-9 nrsv). The truth got into their mind but not into their heart. The heart and soul of religion is to recite facts and principles. The result is knowledge without power—religion without God.
When Jesus was about to be crucified, He was brought before the Sanhedrin, Pilate, and King Herod. Jesus answered questions posed by the Sanhedrin and Pilate, but He refused to speak to Herod. The king asked about eternal life and the things of God, but Jesus refused to speak to him! Why? Two years earlier a prophet by the name of John the Baptist confronted the king by saying, “You are living in sin. You are living with your brother’s wife. You need to repent and get right with God.” No one had ever talked to the king like that. But Herod respected John, put him in prison, and would talk to him at times. God’s principle is this: He will not give you more light until you walk in the light that you already have. Do you think that the king would have repented if Jesus answered his questions? Jesus said in Matthew 13:12 that whoever walks in the light will get more light in abundance. But whoever does not walk in the light, even what he has will be taken from him. Are you walking in the light you have? Will you hear and obey the Word of God?
You must give God permission to speak about any and every area of your life. But obedience comes with a price. Even Jesus, God’s Son, “learned obedience from the things he suffered” (Heb. 5:8 nlt). Obedience requires trust in God (Acts 4:19). Obedience will crucify your flesh (Gal. 2:20-21). Obedience is the premium you will pay for godly character (Romans 8:29).
Do you believe in God enough to trust Him? Will you let the love principle of ACTION flow through you? If you have surrendered to God, Jesus will be the “author and perfecter” (Heb. 12:2) of your faith. He has promised, “‘Whoever believes in me…rivers of living water will flow from within them.’ By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive” (John 7:38-39). By faith you can say, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (Phil. 4:13). “All things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23 nasb). “Blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice” (Luke 11:28 nlt). Will you put your faith into action today?