October 4 – Wednesday of the Eighteenth Week after Pentecost (3rd of Luke) Luke 6:46-7:1
Submit to Survive: Luke 6:46-7:1, especially vss. 47-48: “Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock.” In the Lord Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain (Lk 6:17-49), He commands all who come to Him (vs. 47) to love their enemies, do good to those who hate them (vs. 27), bless those who curse them, and pray for those who abuse them (vs. 28).
Next, He even more stringently requires the disciple to endure physical assaults against person and property (vs. 29), give and lend freely (vs. 30), be merciful to all (vs. 36), refrain from judging or condemning, and forgive others (vs. 37). His expectations of us are huge!
Christ’s demands reveal the true nature of discipleship as an uncompromising commitment to godliness. I, for one, confess that I have evaded the pure, holy, and godly life that Christ our God outlines in His lengthy sermon. I avoid being told how to behave, evading the struggle that a godly life requires and, sadly, refusing Jesus Christ as the bedrock of my life. I believe that these failures apply to a great many of us.
Is the Lord then speaking casually? Surely not, for He presses us to examine our hearts and minds, asking “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (vs. 46). The demon of this age insidiously promotes us to assert ourselves. We find this satanic message at school, on the job, and in the media. Springing from the evil spirit of individualism, liberation, self-reliance, and self-expression, it urges us to declare the right to choose in every facet of our lives. Tragically, such glamorous falsehoods confuse, deceive, and actually enlist many of us among the faithful.
The ideology of individualism first encourages us to question all authority. Then, when this insidious, radical independence becomes fixed in our personality, it creates an inner resistance to submitting to anyone who would direct our behavior and decisions. When such an ideology is accepted by Christians, it corrodes our willingness to obey the tough, saving commandments of God. We start to question the very idea of lordship, and our duty to obey Christ is unthinkingly ignored.
Independence partners with laziness to further impede our salvation, for the commands of the Lord are not easily fulfilled. What Christ asks – to love those who abuse or hate us, to “turn the other cheek” (vs. 29) – requires our deliberate, focused effort in situation after situation. Likewise, generosity with our material wealth for the relief of others may cost us the pleasures of comfort and self-indulgence (vss. 24-25).
To be an obedient disciple and servant of Christ requires us to dig deep and struggle hard (vs. 48). Otherwise, we are like the son who said, “Yes, sir,” but then did not go out into the field to labor (Mt 21:30).
Let us carefully consider our reasons for refusing our Lord and giving lip service to Him. The so-called “self-reliant Christian” refuses to trust Christ the Rock (1 Cor 10:4), but the Lord Jesus counters this error when He says, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6).
Addressing the parable in Luke 6:48, Blessed Theophylact reminds us why we must be anchored in Christ: “When the flood of persecution or temptation arises, the tempter, whether demon or man, will beat against [the heart truly united to Christ] like a stream, and will not be able to shake it” (Explanation of the Holy Gospel According to Saint Luke, p. 79). Christ our God alone is our eternal and sure survival.
O Lord, grant me, I beseech Thee, Thy divine helping grace, and endow me with patience and strength to endure tribulations and grow in submission to Thy will. – Based on a Theophany hymn