You look good, but are you good?

Luke 6:46–49 46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? 47 Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49 But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.

There are people very familiar with the text of the Bible who can teach, preach and share with much confidence. Some people commit many verses of Scripture to memory and can quote them flawlessly. But an examination of their lives reveals a disparity between what they know and how they live. Sadly, this is not an uncommon phenomenon in churches and among people who profess faith in Jesus Christ. The problem of deception is why Jesus and the inspired writers of the New Testament address the importance of applying the truth as well as knowing the truth.

One of these lessons Jesus gave during His public ministry is in Luke 6. Jesus compares two houses built on two different foundations. One house sits on a foundation that is dug deep into the ground to find bedrock. This house is constructed upward from the bedrock, making the entire structure stable. The other house is built only from the ground up. This structure is easier to build, goes up much faster and from what is visible looks as good as the one built on a solid foundation.

The difference between the two houses becomes evident when the storms come, and water begins to run past the two houses. The house on the solid foundation remains intact. The house built on the ground does not fare well. The water washes away the soil around the walls and comes apart and washes away.

The point Jesus makes is that applying His teaching, not just knowing it, but doing it, compares to building on a solid foundation. It takes time and is harder work, but the resulting stability of applying truth means the storms of life will not bring ruin. Those who know the truth and speak the truth, but fail to do underlying work of putting it into practice, will experience decimation when the waters of affliction and hardship rise. What looks good and sounds good will not weather the storms of trial and difficulty. What is cheap and easy comes apart when life gets tough.

It is wise to listen to the lesson taught by the Master, Jesus Christ. Learning Scripture and living Scripture only to look good to others is foolish. It is best to do the dirty, hard, and sweaty work of getting down to core issues of the heart, so that the truth of Jesus transforms us fundamentally, providing stability and resilience when times become dark and dangerous.

The unmasking of frailty happens to many people when bad things happen and tough times come. We see many people crumble and wash out. Is it because biblical truth is unreliable and God is mean? Or is it because people choose the easy way of looking good without a fundamental transformation of the heart? We need to “be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving ourselves.” (James 1:22) You look good, but are you good?