March 7, 2010

To Live is Christ — firm on the foundation

Construction engineers know that what is hidden and underground is far more important to the stability of a building than what is above ground and visible. When we were working with the builders who constructed our house, my husband asked for deeper pilings than usual and more of them. I could see the dollar signs going up and bit my tongue. I wasn’t happy that some cosmetics had to be abandoned because of this expense.

An Old Testament verse comes to mind. It is talking about structure too, not cosmetics. It says:

If the foundations are destroyed, What can the righteous do? (Psalm 11:3)
Literally, the word foundation is a person’s backside, what we sit on. It is a figure of speech for the values and principles that the people of God rest on. The idea is that certain truths form the basics for what we believe. If these truths are no longer our foundation, for whatever reason, then we are left with nothing and our faith is without support.

Knowing and having a solid foundation is important, yet Jesus went farther with this concept. He said,

Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. (Matthew 7:24–25)
I must also obey or follow the principles that I believe. In fact, the New Testament mark of genuine faith is just that. If my life does not match what I say I believe, then my faith is in question.

Besides that, if I do not live out what I say I believe, my life will fall apart when tested, because it isn’t the creed that holds me, but obedience to that creed. As for the tests, they have happened and will continue. They are as certain as wind, rain, and floods.

I have days when the blessings of God are so powerful that I feel like a house on a solid rock in the sunshine with roses all around and songbird music in the air. Life is too good. Then, during trials I feel the storms around me and am sometimes overwhelmed. The Lord keeps showing me that Jesus Christ is still my Rock and obedience is even more important that when all was well.

Interestingly, in both good and bad times, a little voice runs through the back of my mind with this saying, “This too shall pass.” As much as I would like sunshine and roses all the time, this is not the way of life. Both good and bad times come — and go.

Besides, as with anything else, trials prove the foundations. The Trade Towers in New York had a flaw in their structure. When that core was damaged on the top level, the bottom wasn’t strong enough to support it. We all saw the results.

Sometimes a life knows the truth, but decides to do other things and live another way. When the tests come (and they do), the failure is as Jesus describes regarding the foolish man who built his house on the sand: 

The rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall. (Matthew 7:27)
We’ve seen that happen too. Television evangelists, sports idols, politicians, people whose creed may have been upright, but they didn’t obey it. Great was their fall.

I understand the potential. The older I get, the more subtle the temptations. My spiritual enemy may assume that a direct hit will likely make my foundations stronger, so instead he chisels and nags in small ways that seem less important. However, like termites, those doubts and fears can grow and undermine my foundation. I need to pay attention and defend what I believe, not just in words.

I’m thankful for Jesus. I’m thankful for the Word of God and for the Holy Spirit. I’m thankful for Christian teaching and friends. God gives many resources to shore up the foundations. My part is to keep that foundation under me by doing what He says.

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