The following was published by The Gisborne Herald on Saturday 25 February 2012:
The Season of Lent, which began last Wednesday (or Ash Wednesday as it is known), is a time when believers are invited to examine their faith and get back to the basics of being Christian.
A lot of people will call themselves “Christians” but not everyone acts like a Christian should.
Sure, none of us are perfect, and all of us make mistakes. But to be a Christian means that we can’t just say, we have to actually do. As James 2:20 says: Faith without works is dead.
So what are we to do? Well, sadly, it’s not as easy as just turning up to Church. Or going to an Christian hui, or any meeting for that matter. No, by themselves, those things don’t count. Because works without faith is also dead.
You see, your Christianity is like a house. If you build your house on works – being “seen” – but you have no faith in your heart, your house is built on sand. And if you build your house on faith, but have no works – no action to back up your words – your house is still built on sand, just as Jesus taught in the Gospel of Matthew (7:24-27).
To build your house on the rock is to hear what Jesus said, truly believe it, and then to live it. “Be not just hearers” Jesus said, “but be doers also”.
So what is Jesus telling us? He said love your enemies. Bless those who curse you. Love God with all your heart.
Love your neighbour as yourself. Serve others. Lend and seek nothing in return. Give to the poor. Seek out the lost.
Preach the Gospel. Make disciples. Freely you have received, freely give.
He said “Take up your cross, and follow me”.
Following Jesus isn’t easy. This faith demands a true heart, and a higher way of being. But, with Jesus’ help we can be “salt of the Earth and light to the World”.
We can be people who don’t just say, but do also. We can build our house on the rock.