Weekly Devotional: Luke 6:46-49
When 2020 started to go sideways back in March, I had no idea the entire year was going to be a challenge on nearly every level. But it has turned out to be a year of constant stress. From political and social issues to family harmony and financial stability to our physical and spiritual health, the pressure has been unrelenting. It seems like any and every direction we turn, something is in our faces, commanding our attention, telling us how to think, pitting us against one another, and denying us things we want or need.
I have to admit, I’m tired of it. How much more can I take? How long can I hold out before collapsing? If there’s one thing that’s becoming abundantly clear through this strain, it’s that I don’t have what it takes. I’m not strong enough. On my own, a breakdown is imminent.
Thank God I can look to the words of Jesus for hope and strength!
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.” —Luke 6:46-49
Jesus was teaching with tremendous depth in this passage, talking about the essence of salvation and the difference between hearing and doing—but he was also saying things about what this world is like and how to live in it. The simple, biblical truth is, we cannot withstand the life pressures we face on our own. Our lives need to be deeply built into the foundation of our savior, Jesus Christ.
The measure of the depth of our foundation in Christ is also shown in this rich passage. Are we men and women who hear his words and do them? The wonderful, comforting, miraculous thing is, we can be! God’s Word doesn’t hide or complicate what Jesus has told us to do:
And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” —Mark 12:28-31
Beautiful. Elegant. Possible. If you’re wondering who your neighbor is, read on in Mark 12. If, like me, you wonder if you’re loving your neighbor enough through these (or any) times, Paul shares some details about that in his letter to the Colossians:
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. —Colossians 3:12-14
In these ways, we lay an unshakeable foundation. As the flood of this unusual year continues to rise, I can rest on the rock. When I’m weary, I can stop fighting and start forgiving. When relationships get hard, I can turn from control to kindness. Instead of clinging to my pride, I can practice patience. And the most amazing thing of all? It truly does take the pressure off. I’m going to make it through 2020, not because I’m strong enough to endure the stress, but because Jesus is, and he's told me exactly what I need to do.