“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and not do what I tell you?” – Luke 6:46 (ESV)
It’s a more than fair question, and more than worthy of our consideration. It lies at the heart of what is in our hearts. It speaks to how much we have continued to conform to the patterns of this world, and how much we have been transformed by God and His Word. After all, if we are not following Him, seeking His kingdom first in all things, our transformation will be limited.
In the verses immediately prior to the above passage, we see this is part of a larger teaching about how to discern (as opposed to judging), and the clarity required to clearly suss out the truth about another person or situation. We have a huge, sinful log in our own eyes that blinds us from the ability to see the reality behind the surface.
We see rightly when we view the fruit being born from a person, or ministry, or business, or community… When you see the tree for the fruit it bears, you can discern accurately. Grapes don’t grow on thorn bushes.
I find it interesting to clear the editor’s subtitles away and read Scripture as it was intended: a cohesive whole, flowing and orderly, not chopped up into bite-size passages. In doing so – in reading the narrative as a whole – we find something quite interesting. Jesus says (as recorded in Luke 6:45), “…out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Then, immediately following, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and not do what I tell you?”
I imagine Jesus pausing – a Selah moment – between those two sentences. He doesn’t expect an out-loud verbal answer. He doesn’t need one. He already knows.
What Jesus is doing is putting in motion the thought processes of the listener. In the moments of intimacy, in conversation, in discussion… When we are at our most honest, our most authentic, being real… what flows out of our mouths? Does what we say mesh with what we do? More importantly, does why we say what we say mesh with why we do what we do?
If what we claim to be Christians, we need to back up our words with right action. It doesn’t mean we are perfect, or that we expect perfection from others. It doesn’t mean we try to present ourselves anything we are not, and we are nothing without Christ. We are imperfect, filthy sinners, given a gift of salvation – a second chance (or third, or fifth, or one-hundredth) to be set right by Our Lord and Savior. We should be humble, not haughty. Justified, but imperfect (our perfecting being a lifelong process called sanctification). Utterly unworthy yet wholly (and holy) redeemed. A vessel for filling. A lump of clay for forming. A slave to freedom and righteousness.
What we say and do need to line up, as do the reasons therefore. If we call Jesus our Lord, we need to be following His example, seeking His will, submitting to Him with our whole hearts, trusting Him in all things. It is in doing so that we find our house to be a well-founded structure, able to withstand the storms that rage against us.