I continue to marvel over the amazing portion of the Bible we often refer to as the “Sermon on the Mount.” We find it in Matthew 5-7 and it contains the “nuts and bolts” of life in Christ. If you have not read this recently, take a few moments to carefully read is again; you will be glad you did!
At the conclusion of this “sermon”, Jesus shares one last illustration to drive home a very important point; let’s listen in . . .
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”
When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.
We vividly recall seeing the devastation left behind after powerful hurricanes reach landfall; the images displayed on our TV screens reveal the power and ferocity of these storms.
While looking at the devastation, one wonders why there will be dozens of homes swept away, but invariably several withstood the howling storm, and survived. Could it be that those who had taken the time to build a super solid foundation were the ones to remain? I think it had a great deal to do with it!
Jesus is telling His listeners, you and I, that if we hear His words, and put them into practice, then we would be like a wise builder, who set His house on a solid foundation. When the screaming storms of life come, and they will, our house will stand, and not fall.
He then lets us know, that if we hear these words of His, and do nothing with them, then our foundation will be weak and vulnerable, and when storms come, the destruction of our house will be utterly complete!
I can imagine two home-builders on the Gulf of Mexico. One person is spending extra time and money to sink down concrete pylons an extra 6 feet deep; it is costly and time consuming.
Another person, wanting to move in before the summer gets in full swing, decides to cut corners to save time and money; he forgoes the deep foundations suggested, and installs just the bare minimum.
Sure enough, the person building his home scrimping and cutting corners, is sitting on the deck enjoying the warm breezes, sipping iced tea, and getting a good tan, while the other guy is still building. Finally, the builder who took the extra time completes his home, and starts to enjoy what is left of the summer.
The fall hurricane season is coming, and the waters are churning, evacuations are given, and both homeowners have to leave. The storm rages, and finally the floodwaters recede. As the two owners head back to assess the damage, there is only one home remaining; the other is nowhere to be seen. In the end, it was definitely worth the extra time and effort, to build well!
In the passage from Matthew, Jesus was essentially telling us how to build our “spiritual house.” He shows us how to lay a firm foundation; a foundation that will remain when the storms of life beat against it! There will be storms, and some of those storms will be fierce!
When building a spiritual foundation, we need to start somewhere; Jesus started the whole “Sermon on the Mount” with this statement:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
The beginning point in our foundation building process, is to recognize our spiritual need; our own spiritual poverty. Unless we come to terms with this, we will never be able to build any lasting spiritual structure. The acknowledgment of our spiritual need is vital.
The proud-hearted man or woman, who relies on their own intelligence, and abilities, will never have a lasting spiritual foundation. Many individuals see faith in God as a weakness, coming up with all kinds of reasons to avoid God.
The Bible is very clear regarding these kinds of folks:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools. . .”
At one point in my own life, I was one of those people mentioned in this Scripture. I thought science held the key, that faith in an unseen god was weakness, and people of faith were simply ignorant. I was a subscriber to secular magazines like “Cosmos” and was a firm believer in Carl Sagan’s “billions and billions of years.”
After years of immersion in secular scientific thought, I could not reconcile how the intricacies of space and biology could have “just happened.” It was stunning to think that all of this incredible creation could have just fallen into place by random chance.
I became disillusioned with the scientific community because they seemed like they were grasping at straws. They had no real answers, just theories, and tall tales that were even more incredible to grasp and believe than the story that God put forward in His Word!
Like many others, I needed to come to the end of myself, the end of my intellect, and to the realization that I am at a loss, a big loss, to understand the principles of this incredible world in which I live. There MUST BE A GOD, and I MUST KNOW HIM!
Therefore, the starting point for every spiritual journey is the recognition that you are spiritually poor; and Jesus said, this was a good thing!
The recognition of this spiritual poverty causes you to hit “rock bottom” which is a very good place to begin to build!
How deep is your foundation?
I hear there is a storm brewing; be sure your anchor points are going to hold!