“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
House on the Rock, by Randall D. Kittle

A few years ago on Labor Day, my son and I were on our way to the home improvement store when a terrible storm blackened the skies and released a deluge of rain. Traffic slowed to a crawl and the intersection ahead seemed to be blocked. I decided to turn on the radio to see if I could get any information. Instead of news or music the radio simply made the loud, repetitive sound of the weather alert signal. We soon discovered that a funnel cloud had been spotted a short distance south of us. After sitting there in the car for a while, I decided to drive to our church building which was fairly close and in a direction I thought we could get to once I did a U-turn (In addition to this, the building is one of the sturdiest in Rockford, having been certified as a bomb-shelter back in the Cold War era.)

While we were driving to the building, it rained like I have never seen before. I could barely see ten feet in front of me even with my wipers on high speed. Many of the streets were flooded and police cars or barricades blocked off a number of intersections. It was so bad that I was forced to change my route four different times and still had to drive through water up to the axle of my SUV in order to get to the building.

Shelter from the Storm
We were only at the church building for a short time before the phone rang. I wondered who might be calling the church on Labor Day evening during this downpour and answered the phone to find out. It was the fire marshal for our county calling to see if our church would allow them to use our building as an emergency shelter. He said the flash flood just a few blocks north of us had been so severe that the creek had risen 13 feet in just a few minutes. The fire department was using boats to rescue stranded motorists by smashing in their car windows and pulling them out to safety.

That night our building was a temporary shelter for many who had become stranded in the storm and others who had lost their homes to the damaging flood that had swept through the area. For nearly a week, we were the Red Cross shelter for a number of those whose homes had been severely damaged and were uninhabitable.

The flood was of a very severe magnitude. It was worse than a 100-year flood for the neighborhood in which the church was located. Many homes were ruined and even more had been severely damaged. What I found most surprising was that often two homes right next to each other weathered the storm quite differently. One may have gotten by with very little damage, while the other one’s foundation collapsed … it was now condemned and waiting to be torn down. Though for many years the two houses may have appeared to be alike, it was how well their foundations had been made years ago that determined which home stood and which one failed and had to be demolished.

Our Foundation
This is how it is for our lives as well. There are two foundations upon which we can build in life. One will hold up not only in this life but in eternity as well. The other foundation will not be able to sustain us when the storms of life come flooding in.

Jesus told us about these two different foundations in Matthew 7:24–27:
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock. And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not act upon them, will be like a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and it fell, and great was its fall.”

In this parable, Jesus tells us that our lives are only built on Him when we obey Him — when we act upon His words and do what He has told us to do. The Lord requires obedience because without it He is not Lord. This is why Jesus asked in Luke 6:46,
“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” Unfortunately, this paradox is still prevalent in the Church today. Many believe Jesus is the Savior of the world and say they have put their trust in Him, yet they don’t obey His instruction in the Word of God. But if Jesus is “Lord” of our lives, it means, by definition, that He has power and authority over our lives. If Jesus is Lord of our lives, we must give Him both our allegiance and our obedience. Anything less is just pretense.

According to Jesus, obedience is “the other side of love.” In John 14:15 Jesus declares,
“If you love Me, you will obey My commandments.” In the eyes of God, obedience demonstrates that we love Him. Actions often speak louder than words. Anyone can say they love the Lord; it is our obedience that authenticates our declaration. Faith without works is dead, and love for the Lord without obedience to the Lord is make-believe.

It is our deeds, not just our words, the Lord is looking for to see if our lives are truly built upon Him. When we choose not to obey the Lord’s clear teaching, we are building our house on sand. What we build may appear to be solidly built, others may even commend us on our beautiful house, but it is all a deception — no more eternal than a sandcastle. Jesus said that a Christian life without obedience is like a lovely house without a foundation. Regardless of how nice it may look, despite how hard we have labored to build it, it will fall. Therefore, it is imperative we not only trust Jesus with all of our hope, but also obey Him with all our hearts. If we will, our spiritual house will stand anything that comes against it, for it will be founded upon Jesus Christ the only sure foundation.

The Two-Fold Test
While Matthew 7 tells us that the foundation of our lives must have obedience to Jesus Christ, it also tells us there is more that is required — a personal relationship with Him. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21–23).

This passage shows us the two-fold test of having a solid foundation in the kingdom of God. According to these verses, we must obey —
“… he who does the will of My Father in heaven” and we must be in relationship with Jesus — “I never knew you; depart from Me …” Jesus wants us to build our lives on a foundation that will not only stand the storms of life, but also the test of eternity. Without obedience we will fail both in this life and the one to come. Without a loving, personal relationship with Jesus we will certainly fail the test of eternity. Only a life founded on both of these will stand secure through the trials of life, the passage of time, and into eternity.

The preeminent thing we must found our lives upon is Jesus Christ — for He is the most preeminent One in all the universe. The Bible speaks of His preeminence as our foundation in 1 Corinthians 3:11,
“For God has already placed Jesus Christ as the one and only foundation, and no other foundation can be laid.” The only sure foundation we can rest our lives upon is Jesus Christ. He is not our “fire insurance policy.” He is the eternal God who created us for relationship with Him. We must get to know Him personally and to do this we need to spend time with Him in prayer, in worship, and in His Word. It is out of this relationship with Him we will find strength to stand in times of trial and testing. Base your life, your eternity, upon faith and trust in the Lamb of God, whom you know and are getting to know better. That is the only way to face the storms of life.

Storms Will Come
I want us to notice another very important point concerning this parable of the two foundations. Whether our foundation is based upon Jesus or not, the rain, floods, and winds will surely come. Jesus said in Matthew 5:45, “… for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” This tells us that even if we trust and obey Jesus, and base our lives upon that sure foundation, the storms of life are still going to come with all their fury.

It has been said,
“Into every life a little rain must fall,” and this is true figuratively as well as literally. Sometimes it comes as a light drizzle. At other times, it will be a major storm. When storms come into our lives, if we have built them on the right foundation — a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and obedience to His Word — we will stand the storms of testing. The temptations will come, the persecution will come, the trials will come, and we will stand.

Yes, storms will come into every one of our lives. But many people fall away because they never built on the right foundation. Maybe they built their relationship with God on emotional experiences. But emotional experiences come and go. Other people build their relationship with God based on what their friends do. But some friends move away, others disappoint or betray you, and still others decide they don’t want to walk with the Lord anymore. Yet others build their relationship with God on the foundation of their church or pastor. But even men or women of God will let us down sometimes, because none of us are yet perfected in Christ. All of these foundations may stand for a time, but in the flood they will fail.

In 1 Corinthians 3:10, the Bible gives us this important warning,
“But each of you must be careful how you build.” We need to examine the foundation of our lives by looking at how we use our time, how we spend our money, what our minds think about when they have a moment, and in what are we really trusting. If the answer to these questions reveals anything other than or in addition to Jesus Christ as the main focus of our lives, we need to determine to do some “spiritual remodeling.”

House on the Rock
In our region, there is a well-known tourist attraction called the House on the Rock — an architecturally interesting house constructed on a solid, rock cliff. What a picture this is of God’s desire for each of us as believers. He wants us to be known as a “house on the Rock,” those who have our lives built upon the solid foundation of Jesus Christ. But what if the inspection of our lives reveals they have been built in some ways or to some measure on other things beside our relation with Christ and our obedience to Him? How can a house change its foundation when it has already been built?

A few years back, I was surprised to open up the morning paper and see a picture of my friend’s house on the front cover. He had recently moved into a new home because the city was changing the path of a major road and his old house had been purchased to be torn down and make room for the new road. The reason I was so surprised that morning was that the picture of his house in the paper didn’t show a wrecking ball knocking it down, but of a moving crew placing his house on a giant flatbed to move it from where it had been built and take it to a different location where it would be put on a new foundation. Someone had loved the house enough to purchase it and pay the substantial price to move it and installed it on a new foundation they had built for it.

Beloved, this is exactly what the Lord has done for you and me. The Bible tells us that we too
“… have been bought at a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20). Jesus has not only paid the price to purchase us, He has become our new foundation. Open your heart to His examination. He is well able to move you to a new foundation if you will renounce anything else you have been trusting in and repent of every way you have not obeyed His Word.

In these days that accelerate toward the end of the age, let us make certain our lives are fully founded upon Jesus Christ — the Rock of our salvation. May our hearts sing with King David,
“The Lord lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let God be exalted, the Rock of my salvation!” (2 Samuel 22:47). If we build our lives upon Jesus Christ, they will not only stand the storms of life, but also the test of eternity. If they are built on any less, they will surely fail.

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