Then His mother and brothers came to Him, and could not approach Him because of the crowd. And it was told Him by some, who said, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see You.”
But He answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it” (Luke 8:19-21).
Basically, you are a member of God’s family when you live in obedience to His Word. It makes sense that if you want to be a child of God or if you already are, you would do what it says in His Word. God has spelled out clearly what He requires of us. Just look at Jesus’ teachings. They are filled with how God wants us to live our lives.
We are told to forgive others if we expect God to forgive us. Jesus told a wonderful story about a king who showed mercy to a servant who could not repay his debt and begged the king not to sell him. The king forgave the servant his debt but that same servant refused to release another servant from the debt he owed him although it was far less than the debt the first servant owed the king. Of course, the king was upset and that servant received a just punishment for his unforgiving attitude toward the other servant.
Joseph is a perfect example of someone who forgave his brothers although he could have easily justified holding on to his anger and bitterness. After all they had planned to kill him and then decided that they would sell him instead. He never saw his mother again and years passed before he was reunited with his father who thought he was dead. He was falsely accused of and thrown into prison for attempted rape. He spent years in prison before he was released. In spite of all of these things, Joseph chose to forgive. And he even saw the good which God achieved from the bad things that happened to him (Genesis 50:19-21).
We are told to love our enemies. This is a tough one but Jesus said that we are to be like our Heavenly Father who “makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust”. We are to be different from the rest of the world who loves those who love them and hate those who hate them. We are called to love those who hate, spitefully use and persecute us.
We are told not to judge. Jesus used the example of a person looking at the speck in his brother’s eye when he has a plank in his own. How could he possibly see that speck when he has a plank in his eye? Why is it that we look at the sin of others and ignore the sin in our own lives? Let us deal with our own sin problem. It’s like the religious leaders. They were judging the tax collectors and other people they considered outcasts when they were far from being righteous themselves. They were envious, unmerciful, judgmental, self-righteous and hypocrites. Are we guilty of judging others because they don’t measure up to our standards? Do we think we are better than non-Christians? We should always bear in mind the words of Paul, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We cannot judge people. Only God can. He knows the heart.
We are told to be persistent in prayer. God is just waiting to give good things to those who ask Him. All we have to do is ask, seek and knock. We ask as often as it takes. We ask in faith, never wavering. And if it is God’s will, what we ask for we will receive.
We are told to enter the narrow way. Don’t do what is popular or easier or less resistant. Don’t follow the crowd if it is contrary to the Word or will of God. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego did not go along with the rest of the society in worshiping the idol image of Nebuchadnezzar even if it meant their deaths. They stood apart from the crowd and make a strong stand for their faith in the one true God. We are to enter the narrow way which leads to everlasting life and not the broad way which leads to destruction.
We are to bear good fruit. As Christians we are exhorted to bear good fruit. Good fruit means we act in accordance to God’s word and will. We bear fruit worthy of repentant and changed lives. This means we are no longer living as we did before we came to Christ. We practice what we preach. We are Christians in deed and not in name only. We follow Christ’s example and bear the fruit of the Spirit which is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22, 23). This goes back to what Jesus said about not acting as the heathen do. We love those who hate us; have joy even during tough times; experience the peace of Christ during the storms; are patient even when it’s hard; are kind and good to others whether or not they deserve it; stay faithful to God even when it seems like our prayers are not being answered; show gentleness even when people are unkind or inconsiderate toward us; we exercise self-control no matter what kind of situation we are dealing with. Bearing the fruit of the Spirit is not easy as we know that the flesh and the Spirit are always warring against each other but those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh. Christ living inside you enables you to walk in the Spirit.
We are to do the will of the Father. None of us wants to hear Jesus say, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Why would He say that? There are professing Christians out there who believe that they will be saved because they have prophesied, cast out demons and done many wonders in Jesus’ name but Jesus will declare that He doesn’t know them. These are Christians who, although they did all these things in His name, they did not do the will of the Father. Only those who practice the will of the Father will enter the kingdom of Heaven. Jesus said that not everyone who calls Him “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom. If Jesus were truly Lord of their lives, they would not be practicing lawlessness. They would be doing the Father’s will. Their lives would bear fruit worthy of entering the kingdom. Obviously, it is not enough to be active in church ministry, going to church, distributing tracts or feeding the poor. If you are not doing something that God has revealed to you–that you need to change or renounce, you will not be among those of whom He will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
We are to build on the Rock. What is your foundation? Is it tradition or the teaching of the church? In Jesus day, the religious leaders seemed to place the traditions and teachings of men above the commandments of God. Jesus made it clear that our foundation should be on His word. When we hear His teachings and we apply them to our lives, we will be like the wise man who built his house on the rock and when the rain, floods and wind threatened to sweep it away, it stood. It did not fall. It’s the same with us. Once we are anchored in the Word of Jesus and we do what it says, when the enemy comes and tries to topple us over with temptations, opposition, persecution, etc. we will stand because we have built our lives on the Rock.
Jesus taught many other things that would help us in our Christian walk. All we have to do is to decide today to be doers and not just hearers of His Word.