In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus had a lot to say about how I live my life. And here, at the end, I am challenged with putting those teachings into practice in my own life. This concluding passage contrasts those who do act on what he has taught with those who ignore his teaching. Those who build on rock with those who build on sand.
A Foundation of Rock
“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.”Matthew 7:24-25 NIV
Jesus uses the example of a man building a house to illustrate the possible responses to his teaching. In this first case, the builder was wise and he built on a solid foundation. It is hard to underestimate the importance of a good foundation when building a house, or any structure. If the earth never moved or settled, and no storms ever struck, then a good foundation would not be so important. But the ground we build on is not as stable as we might like. And nearly anywhere you live you are subject to periodic strong wind and potentially to heavy rains and flooding. And when that happens you can be thankful that your house is built on a foundation that will keep it secure.
But, of course, Jesus was not really concerned here with the actual construction of a house. Instead, his concern was with the foundation that I build my life on. If I was never faced with challenging circumstances in life, then the foundation would not be as important. But that is not the way life works out. Difficult times will come. And when they do, what will I hold onto?
Building on the Rock
Jesus tells us here that putting his teachings into practice will provide us with the foundation we need to ensure that we survive those difficult times. Putting his teaching into practice may not make the challenges any less significant. But it will ensure that you make it through them with your house intact.
Paul may have had this parable in mind when he talks about building on the foundation of Christ. Jesus referred to his teaching as the rock we might build on. While Paul referred to Jesus as the foundation we build on. And putting Jesus’ teaching into practice would be the building materials we use in the construction of our house.
A Foundation of Sand
“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 7:26-27 NIV
But should I choose to ignore his teachings, whether I admire them or not, the results will be dramatically different. It will be like building my house on sand rather than rock. It may be easy to do, but it is a shortcut that will have disastrous results when a storm comes along.
I may think I know what’s best for my life. And I may find that following Jesus’ teaching gets in the way of living the life I want to have. Afterall, much of his teaching is contrary to my default human nature. And there are so many alternative philosophies in the marketplace of ideas today that are much more appealing. But when I ignore Jesus’ teaching, I will be unprepared for the challenges that are sure to come.
Build on rock rather than sand. Take Jesus’ teachings to heart. Seek to follow them, to build your life on the firm foundation that they will provide.
The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.
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