Morning Reading for March 22

Matthew 7:24-29
Suggested further reading: James 1:19-25

Here is a striking picture of two classes of hearers: those who hear and do nothing, and those who hear and do as well as hear. They, their histories and their ends are placed before us.

We have the man who hears Christian teaching and practises what he hears. He does not content himself with listening to exhortations to repent, believe in Christ and live a holy life. He actually repents, believes, ceases to do evil, learns to do well, abhors that which is sinful and cleaves to that which is good. He hears and does (James 1:22).

What is the result? In the time of trial his religion does not fail him. The floods of sickness, sorrow, poverty, disappointments, bereavements beat upon him in vain. His faith does not give way. His comforts do not utterly forsake him. His religion may have cost him trouble in times past and have been obtained with labour and tears, earnest seeking and wrestling in prayer. But his labour has not been thrown away. He now reaps a rich reward. The religion that can stand trial is true religion.

We have the man who hears Christian teaching but never gets beyond hearing. He satisfies himself with listening and approving but goes no further. He flatters himself, perhaps, that all is right with his soul because he has feelings, conviction and desires of a spiritual kind. In these he rests. He never really breaks off from sin, and casts aside the spirit of the world. He never really lays hold of Christ. He never really takes up the cross. He is a hearer of the truth but nothing more.

What is the result? This man's religion breaks down entirely under the first flood of tribulation. It fails him completely like a sun-dried stream when his need is greatest. It leaves its possessor high and dry like a wreck on a sandbank, a scandal to the church, a byword to the infidel and a misery to himself. Most true it is that what costs little is worth little! A religion that consists in nothing but hearing sermons is a useless thing.
For meditation: We remember very little of what we hear and read as it is. If we then go on to apply very little of what is remembered, what spiritual benefit can possibly accrue?

These readings (ISBN: 0 85234 420 1) are copyrighted and made available with permission by
Evangelical Press; 12 Wooler St., Darlington, Co, Durham, England, DL1 1RQ