Build Your House on the Rock
- September 30, 2019
- Jared Odenbeck
“Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.” (Luke 6:47-49)
- What does Jesus not say?
- What does Jesus say?
- What does it mean for us?
Everyone thinks they understand classic Scriptures such as these. But, I am learning that if I approach any text as if I know it, I am already lost. In fact, I have never seen this Scripture as I ought. I have always misread and misunderstood it. I always thought Jesus was the rock that we built on, as if acknowledging him as LORD or engaging in spiritual disciplines or believing in him brought about a solid foundation. As if, as long as we listen, we have a solid rock to stand upon, because we nod our heads in inconsequential acknowledgement. But that is not what he says.
So what does he say? “Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them…” That means that though anyone can come to him and hear his words – even if they agree with them in principle – they may still build on sand, on a crumbling foundation!
What is the foundation then? The foundation is action. And the action is obedience to his words. That is a rock to build a house on. And what is this house? What is the structure that rises from the solid foundation of obedience to Jesus?
Let us first examine the foundation in greater depth. How did the man lay his foundation? He “dug deep and laid a foundation,” for “He is like a man building a house.” How hard is it to build a house?! Have you ever tried building a house by hand? It is hard enough with machinery and technology. It takes a long time. We see, then, that the rock of Christ-like obedience demands arduous work and real labor. And, it takes time. Houses with strong structure and firm foundation are not built in a day. They take a long time, and thus it will take us time to build our obedience in the LORD into a foundation that will not crack.
Before you can think about the intricacies of a house, the foundation, though unappealing in its aesthetic, is vital in importance, and must be able to support the other components that perhaps have more appeal. Foundations have no curb appeal. But other features, those that are seen and on greater display, are more desired. We often yearn for the appealing facets of Christianity before we “dig deep” and “lay the foundation.”
The house, then, is the visible Christian life, the outward manifestations of an inward obedience, of a soul yielded to the will of the LORD. But this house is fruitless apart from a solid foundation, and, without the foundation, no real house will stand. It will fall, and the fall will be great.
What does it all mean for us then? It means that if we desire the solidity and steadiness of a firm foundation, then we must simply look to obey his words. And if you want obedience to his words, then you need the Holy Spirit, the helper, to change your heart and your desires. You need to call on him in prayer and plead with him to create a pure heart and mind within you, no matter the cost.
You might say you’re not feeling it. You do not desire to obey. But, allow me to ask you – was our Lord Jesus “feeling it” in Gethsemane? No, he was in utter anguish. But, he “emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:7) and he obeyed God.
Help us LORD, to do the same.