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Do you desire to please God with your life? Do you also struggle with sinful thoughts and habits? There’s a conflict going on there, right? In Gal. 5:17 Paul reminds us that the flesh is in conflict with the spirit – and the spirit is in conflict with the flesh. They are opposed to each other making it difficult to do what is right. In Romans 7 Paul talks about how the things he wants to do, he doesn’t; and the things he doesn’t want to do he keeps on doing. Can you relate?
Welcome to the Point of Purity Podcast! I’m your host Steve Etner – author, National Speaker, Certified Professional Mentor TM and Purity Coach for The Pure Man Ministry and this is Episode #160 . In this episode we continue our new Glorifying God mini-series as we discover how our thinking impacts our doing. This week’s Episode is entitled “Don’t Be a Moron.”
Our key verse to start this particular episode is found in Matthew 7:24 where Jesus says, “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.”
A few years ago, my wife and I decided to build a house instead of purchase one. Although the process was challenging at times it was also quite enjoyable. Before we embarked on this journey, we never realized all that goes into building a house. It involves purchasing property, excavating the landscape, getting permits, continuous inspections, deciding on the floorplan – revising the floorplan, choosing finishes and colors. Revising the floorplan again. In the midst of all of it, we learned the value of starting with the right foundation. After all, what happens to the building if you don’t have a foundation or if you build upon a weak one? It may stand for a brief period of time and look good on the outside, but as soon as a strong wind comes along – WHAM! Down it goes.
The purpose of a foundation is to support the entire structure that is built upon it. If you don’t build on a foundation, or if you build on a foundation that is in shifting, unstable soil, the structure will begin to sink into the ground. Floors will sag, walls will crack, and eventually the entire house will crumble. The type of soil you are building upon must also be able to support the structure or it won’t matter what kind of foundation you build upon.
“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.” (Matthew 7:24-27)
You see, in Matthew 7 Jesus introduces us to Wally and Martin (names I made up for the sake of this study). Wally is a wise man, and Martin is a moron. Oh, that’s not my description of Martin, it’s Christ’s. I want you to notice that Jesus called Martin a “foolish” man. That word comes from the Greek word “moros.” It’s the same as our English word moron, and it means exactly what you would expect the word to mean – one who is stupid, a blockhead, a very foolish person.
Focus for a moment upon the magnitude of both Wally and Martin’s building project. They weren’t slapping together a really cool treehouse or an ice-fishing shanty or duck blind. They were building a very important structure which Jesus called their “house.” In other words, both of these guys were deeply involved in a major life-building project.
This wasn’t a fly-by-night, do it on a whim kind of thing. This was an I’m-all-in, do or die project. Their goal wasn’t simply to construct a comfy vacation bungalow somewhere in the Hamptons. They weren’t building something just for themselves. They wanted to leave a heritage for their kids – a legacy that they hoped would last well into the future. They were building their life.
Keep in mind that Martin wasn’t just throwing a few sticks together with spit, chewing gum and a ball of twine and saying – voila, there is my life! He wasn’t going through the building process thinking “Oh, this is just a temporary thing. I know a big bad wolf is going to come along someday and he’ll huff, and he’ll puff and when he blows everything I’ve worked for all my life will come crashing down around me.” He didn’t shrug his shoulders and say, “Eh, no big deal. When it does collapse, I’ll just pick up the pieces of my life and start all over again.” No! He was just as intent on building a life that would leave a lasting legacy as was his counterpart. Both he and Wally were working toward the same goal.
You and I strongly resemble the builders of Matthew 7. Whether we realize it or not, we are daily building into our lives as well. Every day we make decisions that impact our life and affect those around us. Every choice we make today determines the path we are going to go down tomorrow, and the heritage we will leave behind when we are gone.
Most of the time we don't pause long enough to consider the fact that the things we choose to do (or not do) today are literally molding our future and setting a course that will influence the lives of everyone we care about. So not only is this similarity shared between Wally and Martin, but we have at least one thing in common with both of them as well. We are all life-builders.
The second similarity Wally and Martin shared is this: they both lived in the same neighborhood and probably knew each other. I say that because Jesus said they both encountered the exact same horrific storm that attacked their house. Christ said, “the rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house” (Matthew 7:25, 27).
This was no mild mid-summer’s thunderstorm. They didn’t sit out on the back deck with an iced tea in hand and watch the clouds darken while complaining about their lumbago. The storm that ransacked their neighborhood was more like a class-five hurricane with a couple of EF4 tornadoes thrown in. That particular storm packed such a punch that it put untold stress on both of their lives. It bore down on both of them with unbearable force and they were powerless to do anything about it.
Consider this: you and I will also face multiple storms in life – each one intent on destroying us. Sometimes we will get rained on. I’m referring to those tiny, pesky little situations (dare I say annoyances?) that in and of themselves don’t amount to much, just a pesky drop here and there that we could definitely do without; but can tolerate. However, when they start hitting you all at once you find yourself diving for cover. Every so often the rain will fall on your life with a vengeance – how will you hold up under the barrage? The choices and decisions you make today will determine your answer when the storm comes tomorrow.
Sometimes, with the rain comes the flood. These are the situations in life that seem to swell up on you suddenly and then tend to just sit there, weighing heavily on you, drowning out everything you value. They find a way of seeping in and taking over. You wonder if it will ever end, when will it go away. You feel a damp sadness creep over you, bordering on cold despair as it leaves sludge and destruction in its wake. The floods of life will come; you can count on it. The choices and decisions you make today will determine how you respond when it rises up all around you tomorrow.
And then there is the wind. This isn’t a slight breeze we’re talking about. Nor is it a brief gust periodically. These are the times when you get slammed, seemingly out of nowhere. You never saw it coming. This is the major surprise that hits you hard, relentlessly pressing in on you. You stagger back from the blast, barely able to keep your footing. You search for something (or someone) solid to grab hold of because you are unable to anchor yourself. You know that if you don’t find purchase soon, it’s going to blow you far, far away. The choices and decisions you make today will determine how solidly you stand against the wind tomorrow.
Life isn’t always sunshine, roses, and butterflies. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are spiritually, the storms will come. In fact, many times you’ll get hit by rain and flooding and winds all at the same time. How well will your structure (your life) hold up under the storm that's coming? What high-quality materials are you building into your life right now that will enable it to stand when the attack comes?
We don't know when the next storm is going to hit, how hard it will hit, how long it will last, or what part of our life it's going to attack. The only thing we do know is that it will come. We need to prepare now for the inevitable. So not only is this similarity shared between Wally and Martin, but we now share at least two things in common with both of them.
A third connection Wally and Martin shared is that they both attended the same church. They sat under the same pastor and were exposed to the same sermons’ week after week. Please understand that in this story Jesus isn’t saying that Wally had a love for hearing the Truth, while Martin felt utter contempt for it. No, Jesus said that both these guys heard the Word of God. Let me repeat that – they both heard God’s Word! Sometimes we forget that part of the story. Both men knew the value of what God had to say. Both men sought it out. Both of these guys listened to the Scripture.
Lest you think, “well they may have heard the word of God, but only Wally was really listening,” let me clarify something. The verb "to hear," as used in this story, indicates that the one doing the hearing is considering every word carefully. In other words, both Wally and Martin gave their full attention to what was being said, and they were thinking about how God’s Truth applies to them.
Have you ever stopped to consider the fact that you too hear God’s Word? You hear it every time you’re in church, or when you have your devotions or sit in a small group Bible study. Every time you hear God’s Word you have a choice. What are you going to do with what you hear? Think about this carefully because this is a third thing you and I share in common with Wally and Martin.
As thought-provoking as all of this is, it’s not the similarities between these two guys (and us) that are important here. Up to this point, there is very little difference between the two. Up to this point we all share a common bond. However, Jesus makes it clear that there is just one singular difference that we need to focus our attention on. That sole variation is what determines whether you are a wise man or a moron. You see, the fundamental difference between Wally and Martin was the foundation they chose to build upon. Wally chose immediate obedience to God’s Word. Martin did not.
The foolish man of Matthew 7 heard God’s Word, just like the wise man. What made him a moron was that he willfully chose to ignore what God had said. He heard God’s truth, just as you are. He understood God’s promises, just as you do. Yet he didn’t follow through with obedience (how about you?). Maybe he intended on applying God’s principles to his life later on, I don’t know. But James warns us to “not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22). Otherwise, you’re a moron.
Martin made the choice to do life on his own. For whatever reason, he decided he only needed God once a week and on holidays. What choices are you making right now? Think about this: you’ve already been spending time at the construction site. You are already fully engaged in your life-building project. The question then is not whether you are going to be a wise builder; rather, the real question is which builder are you right now? I can’t repeat this enough. You are building your life right now. Is it a godly life? As a life-builder, this very moment as you are reading these very words – would God consider you a wise man or a moron?
If you are not in God’s Word daily, and if you are not applying God’s truth to your life – moment-by-moment living in obedience to what God is teaching you – then I submit that you already are that foolish man. You are a moron. I know that’s strong language, but if you want (truly want) to be godly in your everyday living, it begins now. Not tomorrow, not after you’re finished reading this book – now!
Let me reiterate the fact that God says a wise man will give his full and immediate attention to what God is saying in His Word. The one God identifies as a wise person is always considering carefully what he is reading, and he is seeking to understand how it applies to him. But that alone doesn’t make us wise. Something else is required. According to Jesus, it is nothing short of complete obedience! You have to put what God says into practice in your life. You have to live it out, making it a reality in your daily choices, attitudes, and actions. This is not something you do on occasion, not even most of the time – it must become a normal part of your everyday living.
I find it very interesting that when Jesus said that the wise man “hears” and “puts into practice,” both of those actions are written in the present tense, active voice, and indicative mood. When something is present tense, it means that the action described is being done in real-time. Right now, continuously. It is always in motion and never stops. The action of the wise man in Matthew 7:24 is not only hearing God’s Word but immediately putting it into practice. Right now. Not when he feels like it. Not if he agrees with it. Not when it conveniently fits into his schedule or plan, but at that very moment. Every moment. Always.
When something is written in the active voice, it means you are doing the action. It cannot be done to you or for you. If it is to be done, it must be done by you. No one else is capable of performing that action in such a way that you benefit from it. So, if you want to be a wise man or woman, if you want to build a godly life on a solid foundation, you must choose to daily hear God’s Word and continuously put it into practice. I can’t do it for you, and you can’t do it for me. It is personal.
When something is written in the indicative mood it means that is a statement of fact. There is no room for argument or debate. God said it and that’s final. If you are going to be a wise builder, you will be daily in God’s Word not only listening to what God is saying, learning what God is teaching, but also actively applying God’s principles, standards, and guidelines to your daily life.
To be godly, living daily a life that truly honors and glorifies God, it is vital that you see God’s truth for yourself, within the pages of your own Bible. That is when you make it personal. And only when it is personal will you be able to build your own spiritual life upon the solid foundation of God’s Word. When faced with the storms of doubt, anxiety, worry, fear, frustration, lust, pride, and so on, the only way you are going to stand firm in the faith is if you have already been actively building your daily life upon the solid foundation of a personal relationship with God.
OK. Let’s hit the pause button until next week’s episode as we continue our miniseries on How to Glorify God. In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about today’s study, or if you’re interested in learning more about The Pure Man Ministry, be sure to visit our website to see the multitude of resources we’ve made available to you – you can find our website at ThePurityCoach.com ".
One of those resources I would like to highlight for you here is my book entitled “Extreme Mind Makeover: How to transform sinful thoughts and habits into patterns of life pleasing to God,” available on Amazon.com. This book takes you on a journey through the Bible to examine what God has to say about how your thoughts, words, and actions influence and impact your heart.
If you have not yet subscribed to this Point of Purity Podcast, let me encourage you to do so today so you won’t miss any of our upcoming episodes!
So, until next time this is Author, Speaker, Certified Professional Mentor TM and Purity Coach Steve Etner reminding you that if you are going to glorify God in your everyday living, He must first be glorified in your every moment thinking.
Please understand that your involvement in this program does not provide any guarantee on the part of Steve Etner, The Purity Coach or The Pure Man Ministry. In other words, we are coming alongside of you for the purpose of coaching you toward accountability and purity. I am not a professional counselor and I cannot guarantee you specified results. I am, however, a man who has been where you are and has seen God work in my life in a mighty way. This program is what changed me. And God has used this program to impact the hearts of countless men across the globe!
I'm here to encourage you, to challenge you, to pray with you, and to share with you what God has taught me. I look forward to coming alongside of you in this journey!