Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Thought for Tuesday 11 November 2014

“Whoever hears these sayings of Mine and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on a rock.  The rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.”  Matthew 7:24-25 NKJV

Too many who are led to Christ without being told the whole story soon find themselves questioning their commitment to a God who allows bad things to happen.  It is a grievous thing to watch so many turn away from the Church because they had somehow been led to believe The Lord would protect them from the storms of life, that faith in Jesus would somehow be magically transforming with no effort on our part. 

Jesus does not even come close to suggesting bad things will never happen to His followers; and this passage affirms life’s realities.  The storms will come, the flood waters will rise, and the winds of cultural secularism will do its level best to blow and beat disciples into submission to the belief that being a “good person” is good enough.

Being a “good person” is a good start, but how we define “good” is completely subjective and based on cultural norms.  If being “good” is simply the absence of evil acts, then nearly everyone can be considered “good”.  We should remember, however, that Jesus is wrapping up His Sermon on the Mount.  His “sayings” go much further than to only challenge us to refrain from being “bad”.  Being “good” has a whole other dimension in “righteousness”; deeds of mercy and acts of justice.  It is not strictly about “getting saved”; it is entirely about being Christ in the world today.

“Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?  [Then Jesus] will declare to you, ‘I never knew you.  Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness’.”  (Mt 7:22-23)

Discipleship calls forth from us much more than this, but the “more” is expressed not in the big things (the “wonders”) but in the small things, the personal things that truly transform lives and lift up those who are down.  It is ‘disciples making disciples who are equipped to make disciples themselves’.  It is about feeding those who are hungry, and caring for those who are sick – yes, even those we consider our ‘enemies’ – giving them a reason to believe the “hope that is within us”.  “Good” people take great care of those whom they love, but they will often ignore those who are really hurting.  “Good” people often refrain from “judging” others, but these same “good” people will not challenge those who are on the road to perdition and hold them accountable to the reality of discipleship.  It is much more important to “good” persons to be liked and popular than to be faithful to Christ and His “sayings”.

Claiming to believe in Jesus as the Son of the Most High God but being almost completely ignorant about or unconcerned with what Jesus has taught, or being unwilling to take up the cross, is no belief at all.  It is building the proverbial house upon the shifting sands (Mt 7:26-27) of popularity that will ultimately cause grief.  We will discover that our own ‘goodness’ will not be good enough if we are not touching and transforming lives by teaching people about the real Jesus who offered no excuses.

Let us be diligent about building upon the “Rock” which is Christ, the eternal Word which will sustain us when the storms of life threaten to overwhelm us. 



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