"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." (Mt 7:24-27).
I used to believe that Jesus was teaching that if we put God's Word into practice in our lives, then, when the storms of life hit, we would not be destroyed. To a certain extent, this is what He is teaching. Trials and storms are going to come to "saint and sinner" alike in this world. The difference in the outcome, however, will be determined by whether or not the person experiencing the storm was an obedient child of God's or not.
Some storms destroy people mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually because they do not serve the Lord or put His word into practice in their lives. When the storm hits, they don't know how to react or what to hold on to so that they don't get swept away. They end up grabbing for anything just to keep themselves afloat and alive. Unfortunately, what they grab on to is faulty, deceptive, and wholly unreliable, because it is based on the principles of this world, rather than on the principles of God's Word. Some don't even attempt to grab on to anything; they just "roll over and die" and spend the rest of their lives hating everyone and everything because of what they endured.
At the same time, I've known devout Christians who have faced hideous storms over and over again in their lives, and yet were not destroyed by them because they clung to God's Word in the midst of them. They learned how to live, not by sight, but by faith in what God has proclaimed in His Word, and they overcame their storms. When hit with a diagnosis of cancer, they focused on what the Spirit desired to cultivate in their lives through the cancer. When laid off from work, they focused on what lessons God was trying to teach them through that unemployment.
When teaching the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders, however, I believe that Jesus was referring to more than just the storms of this temporary, earthly life. I believe that He was warning us about what would happen when we enter eternity.
In the parable, Jesus speaks of a terrible storm breaking out against both houses. Rains came down, streams rose, and vicious winds beat against the houses. While it is true that all of us will face different storms in our lives, the ultimate storm which all of us will face (the mother of all storms) is Death. Whether we want to accept this truth or not, all of us have an appointment with Death. It's an appointment that cannot be broken, and one that will be kept for all eternity.
The life that you have lived on earth is the "house" to which Jesus is referring in this parable. If your life is centered on the Lord Jesus Christ and His Kingdom, and if you are living obediently to the things which our Lord has commanded, then your life has been built upon a solid foundation. When the storm of death beats against your house, your soul will not be destroyed. You will be welcomed into Paradise, where you will share eternal happiness with God. At the appointed time, your physical body will be resurrected and eternally reunited with your soul, a glorious, immortal body that can never die again and send you to a grave.
Not so with the man or woman whose earthly life is not built upon Christ, His Kingdom, and the teachings of His Word! Anyone whose life is built upon the principles, priorities, ideas, values, cares, pleasures, treasures, false philosophies, and false religions of this world is the foolish man to whom Christ refers in His parable. His life is not built upon the strong foundation of Christ and His Truth. His life is built upon the sinking sand of this world, which is temporary and passing away. The foolish man has no time to seek God, pray, and learn what His eternal Word commands. He has places to go, things to do, and people to see. His entire life is focused on accumulating and pursuing the treasures of this world. He may even attend religious services on a weekly basis, but that’s about as far as "faith" goes for him.
When the rains of death come down, when the streams of immortality rise, and the winds of eternity beat against that individual and cast him into the grave, what will become of his soul then? Everything that his life was centered on and built upon will come crashing down to the ground, a gut-wrenching, merciless sound which he'll hear for all eternity and from which he will never be able to run.
None of us like to think about the day of our death. We like to focus on the business of living. Satan knows this, and he uses it to his advantage. He keeps us distracted day in and day out with the cares, worries, and pleasures of this world so that we don’t have time to think about our eternal destiny. If he can keep us from thinking about eternity, then he is also keeping us from preparing for it as well.
Jesus came down to us from Heaven to tell us the truth. Over and over again He reminded us that this life is only temporary and that what really matters is eternity and where we will spend eternity.
Since we know that eternity is our destiny, wouldn't it be wise to spend our earthly days preparing for it instead of deluding ourselves into believing that death will come for everyone else except us?
If we center our lives on Christ, His Kingdom, and obedience to His Word, then we have nothing to fear when the storm of death hits because our earthly lives were built upon a good foundation.
Those who spent their lives with their hearts and faces toward God and their backs to the world and all it had to offer will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Father and God. Because they made God the only Treasure worth living and dying for when they lived on the earth, He will make them His treasured possession for all of eternity when they enter into it. For all eternity, they shall be His.
Upon what foundation has your life been built thus far? You may say (as many are in the habit of saying), "I'm a good person; I've never really done anything wrong." With whom are you comparing your life to? If we all compare our lives to Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin, then we all look lily white and pure, don't we? Compared to men like them, we're all saints. But our lives are not to be compared with other human beings. When examining our lives, we must do so beneath the glaring light of God's eternal Word. When comparing our lives, we must compare them with the life that was lived by Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God. To compare and measure our lives using any instrument other than Christ and His Word is a diabolical lie straight from the pit.
As long as the breath of life is in us, there is still a chance for repentance, as well as hope for a better eternal destiny.
May God give all of us the grace to hear His Word and put it into practice in our lives so that our souls will remain standing and rejoicing for all eternity…
…when the inevitable winds of death and immortality hit.
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