Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? – Luke 6:46
Jesus asks this beautiful question about identity of the people who had crowded around him for healing and to see demonstrations of his power. His message to them: identity cannot be faked.
Being centered in Christ is more than a matter of words. Crying out ‘Lord, Lord.’
But, it is also more than just reforming behavior – looking a part, obeying rules – which is a conclusion this verse may seem to imply.
To be sure that we, and the crowd around him, understand this, Jesus sandwiched this question of authenticity between two pictures of the spiritual life.
In the paragraph before, Jesus says that the fruit a tree bears is consistent with the quality of the tree. Good tree, good fruit. Bad tree, bad fruit. So, in answer to the question, if you are not doing what Jesus says, the problem is not the behavior – that is just a symptom – the problem is the identity. [Tweet that!]
Bad fruit starts with a bad root. You can pick and hide the fruit as fast as you can, that does not change the condition of the root.
If you are prone to gossip/pornography/greed/etc, and simply force your self to ‘just stop’ these behavior without also addressing the issue of identity, then you are still far from God. Clothed in self-righteousness. Covering up bad fruit with the right words – Lord, Lord – does nothing to resolve the core issue.
To further show that it is not our behavior that results in righteousness, after the question is asked, Jesus describes what the one who does what he says is like.
Like a man building a house and choosing a foundation. Only, Jesus does not differentiate in the building of the house – the works are the same – it is the foundation that matters.
It is not the work that brings righteousness, it is the identity from which the work is offered.
Digging down and placing the foundation on rock. Looking into our heart and placing our identity in Christ. That is building well.
That is an identity that cannot be faked.
Which of these metaphors for the spiritual life resonates with you more?