“Everyone who comes to me and hears these words of mine and obeys them is like a man who built his house on a rock.” Each of the two places where we find this illustration is the conclusion of a sermon. If you look into Matthew 5-7 and Luke 6:20-49, you can read what “these words” are, which, if we obey, will equip us to withstand life’s storms. Given the importance, we should read them carefully and often, don’t you think? Forgive. Don’t judge. Love your enemy. Give when asked. Don’t be anxious. Interestingly, there is not an apparent natural connection between doing these things and weathering hardship. Unlike, say, “put aside money in a good investment account” or “be careful whom you marry.” So obeying them requires some faith. Jesus’ analogy suggests consistent work for the sake of long-term security in the face of inevitable calamity.
During this season of Lent (the 40 days leading up to Good Friday minus Sundays) many of us give things up. Fasting certain foods, repenting of attitudes and sin that we long to be free from. And this is good. This is powerful. But what if we viewed these practices, these rhythms as what they truly are: an invitation. An invitation to go deeper. Deeper into the presence of God. Deeper into His heart. Deeper into His ways… mercy, compassion, love. What if our over-arching, all-consuming goal is be more like Jesus when we get to Easter? What would happen in our lives and the lives of those around us if we were more like Him? Let’s see. Let’s press into all that God, Father, Son, Holy Spirit is inviting us into. I believe my life and your life can be gloriously new in 40 days. Do you?