By Allen White
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
Over the last few Sundays, I’ve led “Bible time” with our kids. Our first lesson came from this passage. I had each of my children build houses out of Legos. After each child completed their creation, we went out back to the kiddie pool.
They had a choice. They could either place their house on a brick in the kiddie pool or on a mound of sand. All three children chose the bricks. My test house was placed on the sand. Then, the rains came down and the floods came up via the hose.
To confirm Jesus’ words, the houses on the bricks stood firm. The house on the sand went splat. It’s a fairly simple principle, maybe until we apply it.
Ralph Waldo Emerson put it this way,
“Sow a thought and you reap an action;
sow an act and you reap a habit;
sow a habit and you reap a character;
sow a character and you reap a destiny.”
We usually take this quote in the negative: bad thoughts develop bad actions, which lead to bad habits, bad character, and a bad everything else. But, this principle can swing to the positive side just as well.
If I took a poll about which foundation most churchgoers were building on, the answer would be: solid ground. After all, they do go to church, right? But, here’s the thing: thinking about building something and building something are two different things.
What we do daily determines the quality of our foundation. While we like to think that our life is built on a firm foundation, the reality is that some of our life is built well, and some of it is not. Too often there is a fault line between the solid and the shaky ground that runs right down the middle.
Think about your day so far.
- Woke up on time, first cup of coffee, shower – solid foundation.
- Worried about a situation – shaky.
- Prayed about the situation and received God’s peace – solid.
- Thought about something a co-worker did to you and how much you dislike them – shaky.
- Yelled at your kids because you’re upset about your co-worker – shaky ground.
- Reading this devotional – solid.
- Thinking about deleting this devotional – shaky.
You get the idea.
This is not a list of rules or worrying about what you should do. “I should pray, but…” “I should talk nicer to my kids…” “I should forgive my co-worker…” Don’t get caught up in a shouldy life.
What if you could have peace in your heart instead of anxiety? What if you could have love in your heart instead of hate? What if you could feel good about your interactions with your children rather than regret? This is the difference between building on solid ground and sandy ground.
What you do daily determines the kind of life you will have. A better marriage doesn’t come by how you’ve always handled things. A positive outlook comes by receiving positive input and laying off the negative.
Connecting with God, choosing His ways over your ways, heeding Jesus’ words – these build lives on solid ground. Neglecting time with God, doing things our way, ignoring Jesus’ words – there’s a whole lot of shakin’ going on.
How can you turn your day around? What do you need to stop doing right now? What do you need to start doing?