Finding Frontline Confidence | Compassion
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us...
Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
An image in our minds. Something we see and feel in equal measure. It enlightens our thinking, fortifies our hearts, and brings direction to our longings. A house. A strong house. A house with deep footings in solid rock. No matter how strong the wind gusts, no matter hard the rain lashes, the house stands tall. Confident. I’ll have me some of that!
For those who climbed the mountain with Jesus, this mini-parable did not prompt a Sunday-school-favourite tune to start playing in their heads. For them, the words Jesus spoke provoked an image of exhausted workers, the jarring sound of metal clanging on stone, and a feeling of painful gyrations working their way through the hands, up the arms, and through the whole body. Back then, if you wanted a house that would stand in a storm, it meant slow, hard work.
A life following Jesus, where we hear his words and put them into practice, is a rich life, but it requires discipline. To quote the title of Eugene Peterson’s book (which is actually a direct quote from Friedrich Nietzsche), being a disciple calls for ‘a long obedience in the same direction’.
So, what might help us dig this kind of life? How can we live as disciples who stand confidently, even when the prevailing culture blows against us, and when the challenges of our frontlines rain down?
For as long as people have been following Jesus, they have engaged in practices that shape and sustain them. And while we mustn’t reduce discipleship to engaging in spiritual disciplines, if we are to live faithfully and confidently, we must weave them into the pattern of our lives.
At the back end of last year, we conducted some research into the lives of disciples, and the practices they use. Those who regularly engage in deliberate spiritual practices (particularly Bible reading, prayer, and being part of a small prayer/accountability group) exhibit the following: they are more likely to use positive words to describe themselves as disciples – words like growing, learning, and joyful. They report having a clearer sense of God’s purpose for their everyday lives. And they are more likely to regularly show grace and love to others, stand up for truth and justice, and share their faith with others.
By the grace of God, and in the love of God, what practices might you build into your day and your week? What will help you build a life of confidence, based on the rock of Jesus’ words?
Church Team – Research & Development, LICC
What practices do you use to sustain confidence in your everyday life? Join the conversation in the comments below.