“As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed, and its destruction was complete.”
In Mark’s message this weekend, he focused on what we are building our lives upon. Did you notice the “earthiness” of Luke’s version as you read today? The man digs down deep. Can you hear the shovel tearing open the soil? The heavy thud as stones are set in place and the foundation takes form? The violent floodwaters as they thunder and break across the well-laid rocks of the house’s foundation? Luke gives us two verses packed with imagery to awaken our biblical imagination and to sharpen our understanding of the way our inner world is formed.
Our inner worlds, our hearts, were created to be places of worship (1 Peter. 3:15). We were created to worship God as our Maker and, in Christ, as our Redeemer. Yet, all of us know that our affections are often fickle. We love and worship and stake our lives upon many things besides Jesus and, as we do, we create what the Bible calls idols. An idol is anything more important to you than God. Anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God. Anything so central to your life that losing it diminishes you and drives you into the arms of anxiety and fear. God on the other hand is continually described as the only rock, refuge, shield from the storms of life who brings life and peace (Romans 8:6) to those who make him the foundation of their lives.
The Big Question:
Jesus’ story asks us: “What have you been building your life upon? Are you staking your whole life on God and his promises or on what idols promise you?” What steps might God desire for you to take this week to refocus on Christ and to root out those places we turn to for comfort besides Jesus in the storms of life?
– Pray for yourself and others: Respond to our Heavenly Father as He draws us to Himself and wants our affections to be placed on him. He calls out to us, invites us – we just need to respond to him.
– Ask the LORD to enable You to carve time out to be with Him every day. If you already do that, pray for extended time to meet Him through the Word of God, prayer and worship.
– Ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart and reveal anything that has become an idol. Tell Him you are sorry, turn from it and receive His forgiveness. If you need accountability, pray for strength to be transparent and vulnerable as you share with another and make steps to get rid of that which is holding you down.
– Pray for all those on the “front lines” and under great stress, such as Government leaders, medical workers/staff, first responders. Pray they will turn toward God for His strength and help, and not turn to other things. Pray for the Lord to provide for their needs, grant them help and peace.
Father, You are my Redeemer, Good Shepherd and Wonderful Counselor. Thank You for being so kind and patient with me. Thank You Lord for Your friendship and faithful love. Thank You for pursuing me with loving kindness and for inviting me into communion with You, my savior and faithful friend. Thank you for indwelling me with Your Holy Spirit, Your sweet presence. Forgive me Lord for idols in my life. Forgive me for putting trust in money, security, my job, health, marriage, children, family, friends… I confess I want things to be easy, I want to be comfortable, especially when all that is going on around me and inside of me seems out of control. Come and take Your place at the center of my heart once again Lord. I surrender all to You. I surrender all the things I have put my trust in. I hand them over to You. I want to be like a tree planted by streams of living water where my roots go down deep, drawing life from You. You are my source of life. You are my all in all. I praise You that You are my firm foundation. You are immovable, steady, and secure. I can rest in who You are. Thank You for Your full commitment to me. Help me today, Lord, to live out what You reveal to me. Let Your words run swiftly in and through me today. I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.