“….So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings …”
In Matthew 7:24 – 26 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and does them is like a wise man who built his house on the rock…” All of us will go through storms of temptations and trials; we will also go through dire circumstances and extraordinary difficulties. They can lead us to backslide, lose our faith, fail and fall. Even the greatest saints had moments of doubts and were shaken in their faith. No order is so holy, no place so remote to be free from sin and temptation. What can we do to stand firm in the face of temptations and trials? How can we hold on to our faith in difficult situations?
Jesus tells us when we obey him (hear and do) we will be able to withstand the storms in our life. He tells the story of two houses: one built on the rock, the other on the sand. Both looked alike from the outside. The one built on the rock was able to stand firm in the midst of wind and storm while the other one was destroyed. The one who obeys him is like the house on the rock; the other one is like the house on the sand. All believers hear the word of God and say the prayers. Just like the two houses, outwardly they look alike. Their thoughts, however, are unseen to others like the foundations of the houses; it is these thoughts that will determine how they will live and act.
In Dostoevsky’s novel The Brothers Karamazov, a high society woman comes to the wise spiritual leader asking him to help her lost faith. “How can I believe in God again?” she asks. He answers, “You must learn to love. Try to love your neighbors, love them actively and unceasingly. And as you learn to love them more and more, you will be more and more convinced of God.”
Following Jesus in our life situations will help our faith to grow stronger. When one learns to swim, it is not just enough to listen to instructions, but must get into the water and practice the strokes. This principle is true in athletics, physical fitness or any self-improvement endeavor. Indeed, it holds true in the Christian walk. In the case of the story above, it was necessary for the woman to actively love her neighbors. To stand firm in our faith we must listen to the Master and obey him.
‘Trust and obey, for there’s no other way; To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey’.
Prayer: O Lord, help us to trust in you. Help us to listen to your voice and obey you with the help of the Holy Spirit. Amen
Thought for the Day: The only way to stand firm is to hear the words of Jesus and do them.”
Live in Truth, Leave the Sin and Love the Spirit
John Abraham Carmel MTC, Boston.