Which One Are You?

Gwen Smith Blog, Christian Living, Devotions, Encouragement, Faith, fasting, Giving, Priorities, Trials, Trusting God, Wisdom, Worry 38 Comments


The words of Jesus pack a punch. His is a powerful and vibrant dialog that brings both tradition and the Law into a new and living light.

On a hillside, long ago, Jesus engaged individuals toward choosing God’s best on a heart level, not just a do-this-to-make-God-happy, knowledge and rules level. Recorded in the book of Matthew, Jesus gave the crowd, and us, some incredible insights to the way His followers should live. We call this the Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5-7)

Remember that collection of Jesus teachings? Here’s a rapid review:

He taught the “beatitudes” (Matthew 5:2-12), and told His followers to be “salt and light” (Matthew 5:13-16).

He said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them,” and warned the people that unless their righteousness exceeded that of the scribes and Pharisees, they/we would never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-20)

He taught on anger, lust, divorce, and oaths… very prickly subjects! And on retaliation, loving our enemies, and giving to the needy. (Check please!) (Matthew 5:27-6:4)

Jesus taught us how to pray (Matthew 6:5-15), gave instructions on fasting, and told us that we are to love and serve God above all earthly treasures. (Matthew 6:16-24)

He told us not to worry, (wait, what!?) and directed us to seek God and His righteousness first in everything because He KNOWS OUR NEEDS and takes care of His own. (Matthew 6:25-34)


He talked about judging others. About logs, and specks, and hypocrisy. (Easy stuff, right?) (Matthew 7:1-6)

Jesus said that we should ask, seek, and knock. That we should go to God when we have a need because He’s a good, good, loving Father. (It’s who He is!) (Matthew 7:7-11) Also that we should treat others as we want to be treated, beware of false prophets that can be recognized by their fruits, and that we must KNOW Jesus personally – not OF Him – to enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 7:15-23)

And after He finished unpacking all of these behaviors and perspectives that counter-culturally represent the kingdom of God, He pressed in with a wise-person/foolish-person analogy by concluding with this:

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it. (Matthew 7:24-27)

Bam. Do the thing.


I read this and am freshly reminded: all this stuff Jesus told you and me about how to behave and how to believe? If we do it, if we will put these things into practice, then we build our lives on a wise foundation. If, however, we don’t do these things, then we are foolish.

Where are you in this? Rock or sand? Wise or foolish? Do you or don’t you?

It’s not hard to understand what Jesus meant here. It is hard to put it all into practice.


And can’t be done without His help.

If I don’t choose to live responsively to His teachings, then I am, by default, choosing to live as a fool.

  • So when I know that Jesus says I shouldn’t point out the speck in someone else’s eye before taking the log out of mine – and I do it anyway – I live as a fool.
  • And when I choose to let worry and anxiety take up huge lots of real estate in my heart instead of trusting God and allowing His peace to comfort me – I live as a fool.

Jesus talked straight about this. When His followers hear His words (this means we need to read the Bible and know what His words are!) and put them into practice we will not only live as wise people, but that wisdom becomes our firm foundation. A foundation that protects and provides for us when the winds of life blow hard and when the rains of life fall.


Dear Lord, Thank You for the gracious way you instruct me toward life, wisdom, and a solid foundation. Please me far from foolishness, and help me to live out Your ways in my workplace, with my family, and in my community. In Jesus’ name, amen.



Read Matthew 5-7 and consider where you are with the teachings of Jesus. Take note of areas that He might be calling you to change. Ask Him to give you the grace, strength, and wisdom to live out those changes.

After you do this, click here to write a prayer of response as a comment on my blog, or tell me which verse(s) spoke most to you today and why. Then join the community conversation as you encourage and pray for other GiGs who post a response. {Can’t wait to hear from you and pray with you!}


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Comments 38

  1. For me , this verse spoke to me the most , (Matthew 6:25-34)
    I tend to stress and worry about so much ! I just returned home from another week in the hospital , this makes 3 long visits since Menorial Day week ! My hubby wasn’t able to work much and the bills are just piling up ! I have t M made it back to church yet but have started back reading my GIG devotionals so this was my today’s ! It really was a much needed reminder that God has got this and I need to give it ALL to him which at times I have a hard time doing !
    Prayers are with you all struggling with this and other verses !
    Thank you so much for helping me each day as I read and learn more and draw closer to God!

  2. I struggle with the verses about divorce. I will have been divorced 3 years October 1. How do I move beyond the guilt and shame I feel being a divorced woman?

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      Marilyn, I pray that you will be able to give God your heartbreak and guilt. Trust Him daily to love you and forgive you and to give you comfort.

  3. The whole moved me. I do have a question. I need a good Bible study guide and book. I don’t know where to start sometimes and I could use direction

  4. Matthew 5 pulls no punches. It shames me to no end. It leaves me thinking “why try?”.

    I am going to focus on Matthew 7: 1 “Don’t judge, so that you won’t be judged. 2 You’ll receive the same judgment you give. Whatever you deal out will be dealt out to you.

    I ask for grace, strength and wisdom to make the changes.

  5. Hi Gwen- this hit me about living as a fool vs a wise person, and having my house crash down around me….
    In the last year my husband of 18 years and I have separated, I’ve lost my oldest son to live with him, and my other three children, I see every other week.
    I was forced to sell my beloved home & leave a wonderful community, give up my dogs, leave my church, and now I’m on welfare and trying to find a career after being a homemaker for 15 years. I am pursuing divorce but it feels wrong..
    In many ways, I can see that these are consequences of my choices- struggled with anger, depression & anxiety, worry, and a wicked tongue to my kids & husband. I was trying to live as a Christian wife and mother – and yet failing…
    Now I’m seeking to rebuild & getting stronger all the time..I don’t want .to return to a marriage that was miserable- please pray for me to walk in purity and peace & forgiveness, and to continue to trust God to provide for me and my children.

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      Sarah, I’m praying that you’ll seek God through this trial and let him lead you. Praying that you’ll feel the Lord’s loving arms wrap around you. Gwen

    2. I will pray for you as well. Anger, depression, anxiety, worry, wicked tongue are among my weaknesses. I’ve come a long way since divorcing 16 years ago after 18 years of marriage.

      On my journey I learned my anxiety is metabolic due to an underlying l..blocker, have helped me become a so much better me. The anxiety or worry drove the depression and the anger drone the wicked tongue. I never saw examples of healthy coping skills as a child but saw sufficient judgment and blame. Im not casting aspersions just stating facts.

      There’s far more to this story than what is germane to a public blog but let me assure you there is a good life in store for you. Maybe not the life you dreamed of, or thought you had, or others thought you had but there is something really really good inside you and worth enjoying every day.

      Your challenge is to find the good life and to know you do not walk alone! There will be doors to open, lessons to learn, skills to rebuild and skills to unlearn. It won’t be easy but neither was life you had. God will be there with you to find peace and then one day you will wake up and know you don’t want to expend the energy it takes to be angry because you want to spend your energy on joy.

  6. I liked these passages because right now I needed the reminder of God’s presence in all things. I have been feeling weary and tired lately as my daughter who is an adult has been going through a lot of health issues. She seemed to have been getting better and Monday she had set back and ended back in the hospital. She is better but I’m tired and weary. You and your friends have help me a lot with your devotions daily and I praise the Lord for this and look forward to spending time reading them daily. Also the idea of the journal is great I don’t write every day but when I am troubled it helps me to write my feelings and also when I feel like praising the Lord and want to make note of that. One day I read from the day I began writing until the end and saw answers to pray and praises to My wonderful Lord. I am a pastor’s wife and many times feel by myself in being able to talk to someone and you three are on outlet. So praise the Lord for you three wonderful Christian women.

  7. 5:15 ” Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl…”
    I never thought of it like that!-so obviously true! This is wonderful visual that reminds me to not hide the light that is within us from the Holy Spirit.

  8. He told us not to worry, (wait, what!?) and directed us to seek God and His righteousness first in everything because He KNOWS OUR NEEDS and takes care of His own. (Matthew 6:25-34)

    This is the verse that truly spoke to me today. My days are consumed with worry, even though I try not to let them be. I worry about my daughter in law who is a fighting for her life in a battle against cancer and my 2 sons who have made questionable choices in their lives and seem to have lost the faith that they had as young boys/men.

    I saw somewhere that worry is assuming a responsibility that God never intended you to have.

    I try each day to remember this.

    Thank you for the encouragement and strength I find each day from the words of the “Girlfriends”. It was a blessed day when I found your website.

  9. I’ve read these verses many times and the one that always sticks in my brain and in my heart is Matthew 6:33-35. It has helped me when I worry abut how to take care of the basics of life. There was time where I had no money for milk and bread for my daughter and myself. I trusted that God would provide and He did. My daughter forgets this and I constantly remind her about that time. I pray she learns to trust God for all things.

  10. Simply like a child, living out or doing what God’s Word tells me. When I go through the day to day stuff that so easily get under my skin. Stuff that take me by surprise in a bad or hurtful way. Dealing with anger, worry, fear, stress, health issues. This is where rubber meets road. I will be a listener and a doer of what God says as I go through my day, whatever that may look like, in Jesus’ Name, amen.

  11. “Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other.” (Matthew 7:15, The Message)
    It seems I tend to think others know better what I need than what I know for myself. This is a weakness carried over from childhood which makes me vulnerable to being easily taken advantage of. I have matured in age to recognize blatant abuse of soothing words but to grow in understanding when it’s a slippery slope. And once when recognizable for possible abuse of authority I am growing in having a more immediate proper response. Thank you for today’s lesson in beatitudes.

  12. Sigh………where do I begin…

    *Anger…when things don’t go my way
    *Love my enemies/Forgiveness…especially for those who have hurt me and my love ones
    *Don’t worry…about the what ifs
    *DON’T JUDGE OTHERS…show compassion and don’t jump to conclusions

    Thankful HE’s not done with me yet!

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  13. I just wanted to say thank you to Gwen for writing a devotional about Jesus and using so many scripture references. As much as I appreciate all the wonderful personal stories you all use to tie into your daily devotion, it was a much needed (for me personally) change.

  14. As I was reading the chapters in Matthew, I kept hearing/reading it as the “be – attitudes”. I took a sheet of paper a wrote them out in 2 columns: Be and Why. The first 5 went smoothly. The last 3… Not so much. Pure, peacemaker and persecuted all pointed to a common theme: Be different, stand out. Ouch. Life lessons have taught me it is safer to “fly under the radar” so to speak. I don’t “hide my light under a baket”, but I don’t exactly wave it around either. I definitely need to “choose to truly live (action word!) responsively” (action word!) and not default foolishly. Thank you for speaking truth into my life, Gwen. You are a blessing!!

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  15. Matt 6 tells me not to boast about giving to the needy. Our church has a food/clothes giveaway twice monthly and people want to know how many showed up. Also sometimes I wanna share some of the wonderful changes I’ve seen in some of our guests lives. Is this boasting?

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      Hi, Janice. I’m not sure that it is. When boasting is to the glory of GOD, then it is Biblically correct. God is doing a beautiful thing clothing those in need and in changing hearts. The workers who minister are HIS and the glory is HIS. All good!


  16. I often feel that I do not pray long enough but I feel better after reading this passage and that we do not have to babble because he knows what we need. I also have been consumed with worry and anxiety for a few weeks due to some health concerns but as Jesus said “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” I’m really going to try to remember this…

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  17. I think when people see me do they see the Jesus in me. I do try to do everything according to his will, but I know I fall short all the time. Yeah, this has always been an issue with me. My Pastor tells us all the you may be the only Jesus some people get.

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      We are surely called to be light in the darkness. Our light is a grace-filled reflection of the Light of the World who is alive and active within us through the Holy Spirit as believers. 🙂 We all fall short, but we worship One who does not. Keep asking those questions and seeking to be a person of impact, friend.


  18. Lord, I thank you for your insight into my failings today. I know you help me see these things because you love me so very much. I stand in awe of this love – you are such a Good, Good Father. . . a better parent than I can ever hope to be.
    I have not been doing so well at these things. I’m not pure in heart, letting my light shine brightly, I am lustful and sometimes angry at people that hurt me. I try to resist evil and run away, not stand against it.
    I ask you to extend the grace and wisdom to me today to help me work towards the changes that we know I need to continually make. I love you, Lord and you remind me today that its never about me, it’s all for You.

  19. Dear Lord, You always provide exactly what we need, when and how we need it. I have been a fool trying to take care of everything without fully giving it to you. You are bigger than anything I can ever try and handle. Forgive me for worrying and stressing over all that is weighing me down instead of having complete faith that you are in it all. I pray God, You will give me the strength and wisdom to go through today and every day prioritizing what You want and doing It all to bring you all the glory. I pray that you will surround and protect the Bible study I’m a part of kicking off today. May Your presence be strong and Your will be done. Thank you for loving me and never giving up on me even though I fall time and time again. In Jesus name I pray, Amen

    I am so thankful for the GiG devotional and who relevant and timely the lessons are. Thank you Gwen (and Sharon and Mary) for opening your hearts and lives to us so we may grow in faith along side of you and all be stronger for it. Blessings!

  20. I have fear if I will ever find my own mate at 39, please help me pray to focus on God and be wise in the choices I make in life and pray for me to focus on God’s word and not on the wisdom of those around me, thank u Gwen for this, God bless u

  21. Lord I tend to hold onto the things of this world and not store up treasures in heaven, help me to change this in my life and to be more concerned with the things of God then the things of this world. I can be so foolish sometimes, when I don’t listen to God and walk in obedience to Him. Right now I am working on taking care of my body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit. When I am following the Holy Spirit’s leading and follow the food plan He has given me for the day I do better, but when I don’t follow it I can really mess up. I know this not only includes eating right and exercising, but it also includes my spiritual life where reading scripture, bible memoriziation come in and just taking the time to meditate on what God is saying to me in His word. Lord help me to follow You today. In Jesus name I pray. Amen. Thanks for letting me share.

  22. Thank you Lord for loving me enough to share your wisdom through your sermon on the mount. I pray that you help me to be the person you’ve intended me to be and that I can follow you even in the midst of this crazy world.
    Thank you Lord for Gwen (& all the GiG devotionals) who start my day off right even when I’m traveling for work (which is when I truly need these devotions to get me through my days.)

  23. Thank you Lord for your guidance. You’re always there
    To let me know in your gentle nudging way not to worry
    About my children. I know they’ll all return to you & be
    All you created them to be.

  24. Thank you so much for all your devotions. They are such an encouragement and seem to come just as I need them. God Bless you.

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  25. Thank you Lord for these words spoken that cut to the core. Forgive me for my foolish ways, help me to grow into the woman of faith you began.
    Thank you for the gentle ways of directing my path by Gwen’s writings.In Jesus name!

  26. Dear Lord, I just want to thank you for your word. And praise you for who you are. Thank you for Gwen. The words you give her always speak to me. She continually encourages me to stay in your word. Today, reading the sermon on the mount, she puts it bluntly, “If I don’t choose to live responsively to His teachings, then I am, by default, choosing to live as a fool”. Thank you Lord for Gwen and so many like her who use your words to teach and encourage others. Amen.

    I need brutal honesty sometimes. Thanks again Gwen.

  27. For me it is fear and anxiety about oone if my adult children’s lifestyle. I have been consumed with it. I bring it to God every morning and throughout my day but I have been a foolish woman not leaving it with Jesus. God is so faithful he brings words just when we arrest to hear them.

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