“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:24-27 ESV
A Weekend Getaway
I recently went on a weekend getaway. It was the perfect late summer vacation spot on a private island in New England. The weather was perfect for late September.
The beach home I shared with 10 other women was a dream. It was 4,000 square feet of perfection. Marble countertops and bathrooms. A jacuzzi, large bedrooms, personal balconies, and lots of privacy in a heavily wooded private area. The neighborhood was perfect too. Every person that walked or drove by (at 15 miles an hour) smiled and waved. It was more friendly than the city life I was used to, and it reminded me of the southern hospitality I came to love after living in Virginia for a decade.
The mini beach was a 2-minute walk away, and this was my getaway. I came to the beach one day to think, and cry, and pray. As I held my notebook, I sat down on the dock and placed my feet on a boulder sized rock. This way, the waves wouldn’t get my feet wet as they flowed on and off the shore. The rock was so heavy and solid, it was likely that it had been set in its place, unmoved and unbothered for quite some time.
The next day I came back, and being creatures of habit, us humans, I expected to take my seat and again, write, pray, think, and cry exactly as I had done the day before. I was surprised to barely recognize my cozy little spot. The tide was high, and my convenient rock was halfway under the water. All the sand that lined the tiny shore the day before was completely covered, and everything that was on it (seashells, kelp, seaweed, etc.) was completely covered and washed away.
Even though the water splashed over my rock and it was wet, it never moved. The profoundness of this visual made me tear up even more. I thought of the old hymn I used to sing in church as a child, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness, I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.”
Built on the Solid Rock
I then turned and looked at all the amazing million-dollar homes and high-end cars around me. I looked at the jolly citizens sailing and jogging, and gardening in their safe havens. And a sour feeling came over me. Sure, a well-off life makes things a whole lot easier in some regards, but what happens when we build our lives on such temporal things? Things that can (and will) be shaken some day?
In Jeremiah 17:5, the Lord says cursed is the one who puts his trust in flesh. Following the ways of the Lord and obeying His blueprint for this life is the only way that we will weather storms and be prepared for the blows that life will throw at us. Sometimes we can be convinced that we know best. Our life experiences know best. Our plans know best. Our doctrine knows best. Our emotions and opinions know best. But only a foundation built on the Rock will stand when the storm hits. In Matthew 7, Jesus speaks of the parable of the two houses. One was built on the rock, and the other was built on sand. When a huge storm came, both houses were hit, but the one built on the rock never moved, and the one built on the sand was totaled in a big way.
What stood out to me in this passage was that both builders were actually able to build houses. I can imagine that the builder whose house was on the sand probably felt pretty confident after he saw that he was actually able to build. Some of us may feel that obeying the Lord in all things isn’t really necessary because we can experience a seemingly rich life outside of His commands.
However, the Lord calls His chosen ones to have wisdom and clear vision not only for the present time, but for the future also. The book of Psalms tells us that unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it are just laboring in vain. What’s the use of a big fancy “house” that will crumble when a storm comes?
When we fail to follow God’s commands, we are like the foolish builder, and we are only deceiving ourselves. God’s commands provide everything we need to endure this life until the end. Where people may fail is in humbly accepting that sometimes the things God allows in life may bring sorrow, stress, and unpleasant circumstances. This is where we are tempted to drift down our own paths of control. We want relief, we want fast results, and we struggle with appeasing to our own flesh. While our ways may seem to yield results, they will always lack the solid foundation that is needed to make our lives (our spiritual houses) stand against tough times that cannot be avoided.
Walk in Obedience
The Lord tells us in John 14:15, that if we love Him we will keep His commandments. In other words, if we love Him, we will obey Him. Obedience isn’t always easy, but we can rest in knowing that God isn’t crooked or shady. He has our best interests in mind, He loves us, and His ways are so much better than ours. Obedience brings forth protection, provision, spiritual strengthening, and deliverance. We don’t serve a God who is just interested in exerting force and dominating His people. When we choose to obey, we are choosing a life that is protected, overflowing with God’s abundance, spiritually nourished and filled with wisdom, and shielded from the tactics of the enemy. As we walk in obedience, we build a life on the rock that will never fail, and that rock dear reader, is Jesus Christ.