You, Lord, are the Solid Rock.
I build the foundation of my life upon You,
so I may stand strong through the storms.
Focus of the month: “You have heard it said…”
Have you ever seen a house with a compromised foundation? Being a Realtor, I have had many opportunities to see foundations of all kinds! Slabs, crawl spaces, cellars, partial and full basements… One thing remains the same for all: if the ground beneath the foundation of the house is not prepared properly, the foundation will not withstand. Eventually, the house will fall. Slabs crack. Crawl spaces sink. Basement walls lean. As a result, doorways and windows become crooked; walls separate; ceilings collapse; and roofs cave.
At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell – and great was its fall” (Matthew 7:24-27).
Jesus compares our lives to the houses and their foundations. He says if we hear His words spoken in the Sermon on the Mount, and act on them, we are wise and we will stand. Oppositely, if we hear His words and do not act on them, we are foolish and we will fall. Notice: Both the wise and the foolish “hear” His words. The difference is what is done with those words. One group acts. The other neglects. One obeys. The other ignores.
So, what exactly did Jesus instruct us to “DO” in the Sermon on the Mount? Here are some specific instructions:
- Let your light shine before others (Matthew 5:16).
- Keep the commandments and teach them (5:19).
- Be reconciled with your brother, make friends with your opponent, and present your offering (5:24-25).
- Turn the other cheek, give the shirt off your back, go the extra mile, and give to those who ask (5:38-41).
- Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you (5:44).
- Do charitable deeds and pray privately (6:1-13).
- Forgive others (6:14-15).
- Fast without letting others know (6:16-18).
- Lay your treasures up in heaven (6:19-21).
- Do not worry, but seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (6:25-34).
- Do not judge others (7:1-6).
- Ask, seek, and knock (7:7-8).
- Treat others the same way you want to be treated (7:9-12).
- Enter through the narrow gate and endure the narrow way – it leads to life (7:13-14).
- Beware of false teachers. Know others by their fruit (7:15-23).
That’s quite a list! How can we possibly act on all of that all the time? Jesus gave us that answer, too – by His perfect law of Love. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.” All the commandments, instructions of Jesus, and actions required for us to be wise and to stand are realized in the fulfillment of Love.
Perfect love casts out all fear. Love covers a multitude of sins. Love rejoices in truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, and never fails. We must be rooted and grounded in love so we can stand strong in the rain. We must know His love so we can endure the floods, withstand the winds, and not fall, but be soundly established in His righteousness.
Love is the foundation of our faith. Faith works by love. Are you secure in the Father’s love for you? Are you building your life upon Jesus, the Solid Rock of your salvation? You have heard His words… Are you just hearing them? Or, are you also acting upon them?
Holding Fast to Hope,