[Jesus said,] â€œTherefore 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.â€ Matthew 7:24-27 (NIV)
Those of us who live in Florida, who have lived here for more than four years, know about rain and winds blowing. In 2004, Hurricane Ivan came through my hometown of Pensacola with 130 mph winds and rain. Thatâ€™s a lot of fury. In the days after the storm, you could drive down any street and pick out the homes that had recently been built to withstand 140 mph winds, a recent change in building codes. Unless those homes took a direct hit from a tree, they had a roof and they had walls. I was blessed to be staying with friends who had such a home. The hurricane winds howled around the home like something straight from the pit of hell but the house stood strong. It would be interesting to know how many sermons have been preached in Pensacola pulpits from this passage since Hurricane Ivan!
Where am I building my spiritual house? On rock or sand? Are there sandy places in my foundation that I need to pay attention and strengthen?
Itâ€™s too easy to say, â€œJesus is my Rockâ€ and think that is all it takes. Thatâ€™s a good solid framework for my foundation. It makes it clear from where I get my materials. â€œIf it doesnâ€™t say JESUS, it doesnâ€™t say ROCKâ€, does it? However, Jesus did not intend to spoon feed me through my entire life. Jesus isnâ€™t going to do all the building for me! There are ingredients that are essential to making a solid foundation that will not shift or crack. I know what they are but it is a daily choice to put them into the foundation that I want to maintain.
Prayer. Daily conversation with God. Thanksgiving. Praise. Laying down burdens. Asking for wisdom and strength. Lifting others up. Asking for and receiving blessings!
Study/Reading of the Bible. Other books are good but no substitute and I need to read them with the Bible right there to â€˜checkâ€™ things.
Meditation. Thinking. Turning my thoughts to listen for God. Some might think this is the same as prayer. It could be but as I read the Psalms, I wonder if David had talks with God â€“ back and forth exchange â€“ and then sometimes David just focused on God and who He is and what He does and just listened for Him.
Obedience. A daily, ongoing choice to go thru and do the tasks that God has set for my day. That cuts out worry, confusion, and stress, doesnâ€™t it?
All of these (and others you may add to your list) are the â€œspiritual act of worshipâ€ that Paul spoke about in Romans 12 that makes our whole life an act of worship to God. Worship is from foundation to rafters of my spiritual home.
Putting Jesusâ€™ words into my life, into the foundation of my spiritual life makes the place I stand rock solid. I know what I stand for. I am not â€œblown aboutâ€. (Ephesians 4:14) I go back to the source and test all things to Jesus as the standard. There will be many storms in my life. They are fierce winds that want to tear down. Jesus shows me how to continue to build and build strong. The roots are deep and the fruit will be plentiful. To God be all glory!