“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matt. 7:24)
My son has always loved to build sand castles, and we enjoy walking along the beach and seeing if others have left their works of art behind for our entertainment. But the thing about sand castles is that they don’t last forever. In fact, most will never last one day, as high tide comes in and washes them away.
Picture yourself wading out into the ocean. Can you feel the sand and water under your feet? It’s always a little unsettling to me at first, as the sand on the bottom of the ocean is constantly in motion, leaving me with unstable ground on which to walk.
In Matthew 7:24-28, as the conclusion to the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says that those who would follow the beliefs and actions of the world are building their “houses” — their lives — on ground that is like sand, constantly shifting and moving, never sturdy and stable. When the rains come, when the things that batter our lives are thrown at us, our houses will fall. Jesus knew we would face illness, the death of loved ones, messy relationships, loss of jobs, prodigal children, persecution for our faith, and so much more. He desires we build lives that will withstand everything a sinful world will throw at us.
A well-built house is one with a solid foundation. On my way to the school where I teach, I pass a new housing development. They haven’t actually started building anything yet, but they are busy working the ground and preparing the soil. Even though this work seems tedious and time-consuming, it is essential in order for the houses that will be built there to be good quality homes.
We want to build lives on a solid foundation: the Word of God. When those things that batter at our lives rain down against us, we want to be able to stand strong, like a house with a well-prepared foundation. How do we do that?
Spend daily, quality time in the Bible
Nothing can replace the time we spend infusing the Word of God into our hearts and minds. We do that through regularly studying in Bible. Study tools and books are great and useful, but they can’t replace actual time in God’s Word, His love letter to us.
When life gets hard, we need to train ourselves to make talking to God our first reaction. Wherever we are, whatever is happening, God is waiting to hear from us. We can talk to Him about our lives, knowing that He always wants what is best for us.
Surround ourselves with godly friends
The closest people in our lives need to be people who will point us back to the Word when life gets out of control. With so many messages in our culture, we need friends and counselors with godly wisdom, who will not just tell us what we want to hear, but will tell us what we need to hear, even when it is hard.
Jesus wanted His hearers, and those of us who read His Words now, to build solid lives that will not collapse when the storms of life come against us. He was preparing them and us for what will come. We live in a sinful, fallen world, and that sin creates hardships for everyone. Particularly in ministry, I believe we are on the front lines of those dealing with the ravages of sin in the lives of others. But those of us who know Christ are not alone, and we have a helper in the Holy Spirit, who will guide us.
How is your foundation? Is it solid or sandy? Commit today to building a better, stronger foundation that will withstand the storms of this life.
Published February 19, 2018