Life or Death?
Creator God, You will the world good. In my world, please make all things new.
Consider: "There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done.' And those to whom God says in the end, ‘Thy will be done'" (C. S. Lewis, 1898-1963). A solemn reminder of eternal destinies.
"When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever" (Prov. 10:25). The Wisdom literature of the Old Testament loves to confront us with contrasts like this. The book of Proverbs is full of them. Life, of course, is more nuanced. Or so we think. Jesus strips away our sophistication and leaves us with the naked truth. We are either with him or against him. We either listen or plug our ears. We either obey or disobey.
We are more inclined to pick and choose. We obey when it's convenient, or isn't too expensive, or doesn't isolate us from our friends and colleagues, or doesn't conflict with our leisure. Or we think we can give God our Sunday mornings, and maybe an evening or two. The rest, we reason, is ours. Or we think we can tithe our money and use the rest as we please. May God forgive us! Jesus gave his life for us, and "Love so amazing, so divine/demands my soul, my life, my all" (Isaac Watts, 1674-1748). Those who surrender in response to his love discover another world.
The Sermon on the Mount ends as it began. Being a Christian means living as a disciple and follower of Jesus. That doesn't mean just showing up at church on Sundays (though it includes that). It means a wholehearted commitment to Jesus and the kingdom of heaven. It means loving God and our neighbor with everything we've got--including people outside our circle of friends. It means depending on our Father in prayer. It means forgiving other people. It means not being preoccupied with money and not worrying about material security. Those who build their houses on rock are those whose trust is in Jesus, who love his company and his direction, who obey him from the heart and know an indescribable joy.
"Choose life...that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice and hold fast to him" (Deut. 30:19,20). Why should we choose life? How does the picture of Christ as the Solid Rock minister to you in your Christian life?
Patient Father, the seductive lure of the world with its dazzling lights is always with me. Strengthen my resolve to keep my feet on You, the Solid Rock.