Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 5; 145, Hosea 6:7-7:7, Acts 22:30-23:11, Luke 6:39-49
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you? I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them. That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when a flood arose, the river burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, immediately it fell, and great was the ruin of that house.”
Jesus spoke these words to a great crowd about two thousand years ago, and they are still instructive today. Modern Christians spend a lot of time talking about being Christian, what to believe, and who is and who isn’t really a Christian. Yet Christ is clear the hallmark of a person who follows him is the fruit that person bears. It’s easy to hear his words, to parrot them back to each other in an endless, self-satisfied echo chamber, and think we are being good Christians. But that’s not the firm foundation Jesus describes. The actions we take (or neglect) either support or undermine the credibility of the Gospel. If we spend all our time congratulating ourselves for not being those particular sinners – pointing out specks while ignoring our own logs – we haven’t done a darn thing to actually further the kingdom. To do the things Jesus tells us to do, we have to step out of church, Bible study, and Sunday school. If “each tree is known by its fruit,” what will you be known for? Works like feeding the hungry and visiting the sick may not earn us salvation, but if these aren’t the kinds of fruit we bear, it may be time to check for root rot.
It’s never too late to start laying that firm foundation, never too late to do more than hear the words of Jesus but to act on them.
Comfort: Acting on Jesus’s words helps us experience love and joy.
Challenge: Make the necessary changes in your life to help your faith radiate outward, rather than focus only inward.
Prayer: Loving God, I will follow Jesus in both word and deed. Amen.
Discussion: Some people find it easier to act out the Gospel, and some find it easier to talk about it. Do you fall into one of these camps?
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