Unless the Lord builds your house, those who build it will labor in vain.
In the parable of the two builders (Matthew 7:24-27), Jesus teaches the importance of building your house on solid ground. We’re all building our lives (our houses) on something. When everything is going well and life is great, a weak or shaky foundation won’t reveal itself. But how often is everything going great? In the real world, stress, anxiety, problems, and struggles come at us almost daily if not hourly. Those are the times when the winds are howling and the rain is beating down on our houses. Those are the times when we will become keenly aware of how firm and sure our foundation is – or isn’t. So, how can we learn how to build our lives on solid ground, let’s look at Matthew 7.
In this passage Jesus states that those who hear His words and do them are wise builders. They have built their homes on rock solid foundations. The winds howl, the rains come – even a flood comes – but the house stands firm. Those who hear His words, but fail to live by them are foolish builders. They may build the grandest of houses, but they sit on a shaky foundation. Places that get more than their share fair of severe weather, with hurricanes, tropical storms. After these storms. Some times people houses in the neighborhoods look fine while others are nearly destroyed. Let’s flash Jesus’s home-building analogy out a bit.
What Is This House We’re Building?
The “house” we are building is a metaphor for our whole lives. It represents our faith, our job, our relationships, our health, etc… Notice the entire house must rest on a solid foundation, not just a few parts. It’s very easy for us to compartmentalize our lives without even being aware of it. Instead of a whole, our lives look more like colorful pie charts with hard lines dividing the sections.
We may go to church on Sunday’s or even participate in a weekly Bible study or prayer meeting. A daily quiet time of study and prayer is part of our routine. We feel like that “slice of our pie” is strong. We’ve checked the boxes, we are doing fine there. And then we consciously or unconsciously leave Jesus in His pie slice. We move on to our job slice, our parenting slice, or our recreational slice, and leave our faith completely out. It’s as though we don’t think Jesus has anything to do with those areas. But He has everything to do with them.
What’s Threatening Our House?
Let’s look back Matthew 7:24-27 – Jesus mentions three threats to our houses: rains, floods, and winds. What might these things look like in our every day lives?
Rain can vary greatly- they can be a foggy drizzle that sucks the joy out of our day. They can be light – we may need an umbrella, but we can still go about our business. Or they can be downpours that we can’t even see through, complete with terrifying thunder and lightning. Taken together these are the everyday troubles of life. Some troubles are small, persistent and annoying. Some are more troublesome. And some storms are swift, unexpected and overwhelming.
Floods are obviously times when an all-out life threatening disaster is coming at us, a catastrophic illness, the death of a loved one, a divorce, a job loss, financial ruin. We are in real danger of being swept off our feet and drowned.
Winds I see as “words.” Words have great power to either build up or tear down. The words that beat against our houses are things like thoughtless remarks from a friend, a harsh rebuke from a boss, a heartless, cowardly attack by a internet troll. Or maybe worst of all, the negative, defeating self-talk we subject ourselves to all day long.
Jesus tells us that hearing and doing His words will empower us to withstand these forces. He promises that our houses will not fall. I like what it says in Luke 6:48, not only will our houses not be destroyed, they won’t even be shaken . Now that’s a firm foundation.
He is like a man building a house who dug and went deep, and laid a foundation on the rock. When a flood arose, the stream broke against that house, and could not shake it, because it was founded on the rock.Luke 6:48
If Faith Just Part Of Our Life Or Something Else?
Back to the “piece of our pie“ analogy. Faith is not a “slice of our pie” or just a part of our lives. Faith is the key, foundational element in our lives. If we think about it like a real pie. It’s like the top and bottom crust. No matter what you fill a pie with or how you bake it, as lousy crust makes a lousy pie.
Nowadays it’s easy to skimp on piecrust and many people take this route. Most people believe the lie that homemade piecrust is “too hard” and “not worth the effort.“ They use whisper-thin frozen crusts that deliver all the floor and mouthfeel of a cardboard box. Or they use refrigerated crust so full of weird stuff that it tastes like a plastic bag it came in. They put in a lot of effort into making a pie that will never be as delicious as it could be
Similarly, many people believe that lie that growing up and maturing in faith is “too hard” or “ not worth the effort.” It’s just for people who are in professional ministry. Or maybe the lie you are belies that the Bible is only relevant to certain areas of your life. Or It does not apply to the “real world,” nitty-gritty everyday stuff. And this you are building a life that isn’t really all it could be.
Few people know that the book of Psalms was written for every problem or trial we will to go through in our lives today. Not only that it teaches us how to ask God to help us through it. Which is the pie crust of life.
The truth is, however, that with the right recipe and a little practice, pie crust is absolutely a skill anyone can do and oh so worth the effort. It takes practice, effort, and good teachers to help you along the way. And as Matthew 7:24-27 reminds us it’s the difference between a life that stands and one that collapses in on itself. There is no comparison between a life founded on the Word of God and a life foundering without it.
So Where Does Faith Fit Into Our Lives?
A solid home needs a firm, found foundation. Likewise, a good pie, and beautiful pie, a truly delicious pie is a sturdy, well-made crust. You have to make sure the edges are tightly rolled together and crimp shut, sealing everything else securely inside. If you don’t, you’re feeling will boil over and feel your home with the delightful smell of burning sugar. If there’s one sound you don’t want to hear what you were baking it’s the smoke alarm. And while the edges need to be crimped tight, you also need to cut a few openings in the top to “let off steam.” If you don’t, the pressure will build up inside your pie and explode.
Our faith is not a slice or section of our lives. It’s what undergirds and supports our entire existence. Bitch what tightly surrounds and safely contains our whole selves. And in times of pressure, it’s a thing which we can escape, let off steam, and “keep it all together.” Our faith is the framework through which we show the world what is delightful, delicious, and fruitful inside of us. Without it, We’re an okey-gooey mess just waiting to boil over and set off the smoke alarm.
Are you building your life on a solid foundation? A life worth living? Are you baking a pie worth eating? The foundations of your “real” homes need constant checking and occasional repairs to ensure our homes are secure. Likewise, our spiritual foundation needs vigilant attention. We need to daily fortifying and strengthening it with time in the Word and prayer – not just reading and learning, but applying as well (Be doers of the word). And occasionally we have to step back and see if anything has shifted – If our house has started to slide off permits from foundation. A little cracks of insecurity, anxiety, bitterness, or anger showing? Are we leaning towards things we shouldn’t?
Matthew 7:24-27 Encourages us to build our lives on the word of God, it’s a foundation that will never change, never a give way and never let us down If we take good care of it.