31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.
How do you know if you are actually believing that something is true? The answer is simple, you live as if it is true. Meaning, that you base your thoughts and actions on the reality that something is true. This is the reason we don’t jump off of buildings. We know that gravity is true so we act accordingly. Its also the reason that we stay away from poisonous snakes. We know that they can bite us and their venom can make us sick or worse.
We believe things about gravity and snakes and we act in accordance or according to those beliefs.
Yet, at times we believe that this same line of thought doesn’t apply to God. Many of us would intellectually agree with the idea that we believe God, but we practically live most of our lives as if their is no God. Sure we go to church and maybe we are involved in a few other church activities, but how do we live our lives when we are in our homes, our work places, schools, or our communities?
We say we believe that God is sovereign, but we worry and doubt when the waves of trials come into our lives. We say that God is all satisfying and yet we spend hours upon mind numbing hours trying to satisfy ourselves with screens. We say that we want to live radical lives for Jesus and yet we can’t even do the simple task of reaching out to love and serve our neighbors.
The contradictions are at times endless.
Jesus was not silent to this kind of lifestyle. He told a parable about two sons. A father told one son to go into the vineyard. He refused at first and then went. The second said he would go but never went. Jesus the asks the Pharisee’s a questions. He says, “which of the two sons did the will of the father?” Rightfully so, the Pharisee’s answer that the first son who eventually went into the vineyard did the will of the father.
The truth is that faith and belief in Christ is not legitimate unless it actually produces action in the life of a believer. Now I realize that we will never live perfectly for Christ. However, if the Spirit of God lives within us and is working than our lives should be reflecting the reality that we love, trust, and obey our God.
Mere intellectual belief doesn’t mean anything apart from a life that lives according to that belief. The Pharisees’ had an intellectual belief and yet they lived life apart from actually following Christ. Yet, those who truly believed, tasted the goodness of God, and lived accordingly were the outcast of society. It was the tax collectors and prostitutes who had truly believed Jesus, loved Jesus, and followed Jesus. And it was these people whom Jesus called a part of the kingdom.
This should cause us to examine our lives and our hearts. It should cause us to examine what we believe and if we are living according to that belief. Do we believe Jesus? Do we actually love Jesus? Do we believe that our greatest live and joy are found in him? And do we believe that living every moment for his kingdom is better than anything else in this world? If so, do our lives reflect what we believe?
These questions are eternally important as we will be judged before God based on where we put our faith and how we lived in accordance with that faith. Did we trust Christ for our lives and give ourselves completely over to him or did we trust in ourselves? And the questions are important for today as we our constantly seeking after significance, purpose, rest, and joy in our daily lives. For these things are only found in Christ and Christ alone.
So let’s be people who live as if they believe what they profess. Let’s give our lives completely over to the purposes of God believing that he is the sovereign God who gives us eternal life and eternal joy and eternal significance. And may our lives reflect the reality that we believe these things to be true.