The Right Foundation

“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. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
(Matthew 7:24-27)

Jesus begs the question of us all: Upon what foundation are we building our houses (lives)? The foundation determines the ability for our structures to withstand the elements. No one is immune to the cold hard winds of life. Because we live in a fallen world and we wrestle daily with Satan, sin, and self, trials and heartaches blow hard on us all. A sudden death, the loss of income, a wayward child, a chronic illness, a love-less marriage; you name it, these beat against our houses like no small hurricane. The hope which is built on Christ will stand even when the storms fiercely blow. His comfort will never fail; His faithfulness is great and new every morning. When the Lord is our portion and sufficiency, we will always be satisfied:

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
(Lamentations 3:22-24)

Jesus teaches us that we can either choose to be prudent, sensible, and wise in our choice of foundations or we can choose to be silly, stupid, and foolish. Sounds like a no-brainer to me! Paul gives us fair warning as well:

Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” (1 Corinthians 3:18-20)

Christ classifies the hearers into two categories: those who hear His Words and act and those who hear His Words and do nothing. Those who hear and are obedient to God’s Word receive freely flowing grace giving way to grace. Conversely, those who are disobedient to what they hear turn their backs on the grace held out for them. Sadly, they bring ruin upon themselves. God’s Word is meant to benefit us by changing our lives as we obey. God clearly tells us:

“Faith, as Paul saw it, was a living, flaming thing leading to surrender and obedience to the commandments of Christ.”
-A.W. Tozer

My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice. (Ezekiel 33:31-32)

Delayed obedience is disobedience causing us harm as well. Postponed obedience can never bring the full blessing God intended for us and others. We are to dare to trust Him as well as dare to follow Him. He will never disappoint us! We will always be enabled to stand firm in the storm.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does.
(James 1:22-25)

James tells us we are not to merely listen to God’s Word but do what it says in order to not deceive ourselves and to be blessed in all that we undertake. Why would we want to waste our lives and efforts by doing any differently?

Take It to Heart

“It is not enough to hear Christ’s words, and understand them, hear them, and remember them, hear them, and talk of them, repeat them, dispute for them; but we must hear and practice them. This do, and you shall live. Those only who hear, and obey, are blessed.” (Matthew Henry)

“Love for God and obedience to God are so completely involved in each other that either one of them implies the other too.” (F. F. Bruce)