Pastor Darrell Johns
Two men - possibly neighbors - were constructing houses. The first hastily built his home on a sandy surface to save time and energy. The second man built a similar house but with a different approach. Recognizing that his house would be subjected to strong winds, torrential rain, and flash flooding, the second man dug deep until he hit rock. When he did, he built his house on that firm foundation. You could not tell that one house was superior to the other until storms struck. (See Matthew 7:24-27; Luke 6:47-49.) This story told by Jesus is true to life. The superiority of a solid spiritual foundation is revealed only when tested by storms. A life built on the rock of Jesus Christ stands the test of time.
Clearly, foundations matter. No substantial structure is built without a foundation. The bigger the superstructure, the deeper and stronger its foundation must be. Throughout the Bible, sound foundations – both natural and spiritual - are depicted as essential. In the construction of our lives, the only unshakable foundation is Jesus Christ. Building on anything else is foolish and will end in failure. (See 1 Corinthians 3:11.)
Foundations are functional, not fancy. I have been privileged to visit some iconic edifices in my ministry travels. While touring the breathtaking, ornate summer palace of Russian Czar Peter the Great in St. Petersburg, Russia, our guide pointed out the many splendid features of that palatial home. However, the guide never gave us a riveting speech about the palace’s foundation nor even mentioned it during the tour, despite its being a critical feature of the structure. The palace, completed in 1714, would not be in existence today if not for a functional, sturdy foundation. Songwriter Edward Mote was on to something when he penned the following profound lyrics: “On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.” Our lives are either built on the foundation of biblical principles and the Lordship of Jesus Christ or on sinking sand: there is no middle ground.
Foundations can become faulty. When this happens, they need to be reinforced. The Jerusalem Temple, built by Solomon, was destroyed in 587-586 B.C., when the Babylonians captured the city, torched it, and exiled the Judean leadership to Babylon. The final days of the First Temple are recorded in 2 Kings 25:8-9. The Second Temple was constructed on the same site by the Jewish people with the support of Cyrus, King of Persia. The Prophets Haggai and Zechariah encouraged the people in the work, and Ezra chronicled the story of their success. Although it may not have been as impressive as its predecessor, the Second Temple was supported by a restored foundation and once again became the center of Jewish worship. (Ezra 3:10-11.) By application, the foundation of our lives is our relationship with Jesus Christ. When we neglect the fundamentals that make us solid Christians, our foundations can become faulty. Over time, neglect of our walk with God will cause our spiritual house to collapse into ruin. So, let’s take the time to restore and reinforce our spiritual foundation.
The doctrinal foundation upon which our Christian life is built is unshakable. As long as we maintain the foundation, we are free to go on to spiritual maturity. What is in the foundation of our faith? Hebrews 6:1-2 lists the elements of that foundation with no further explanation, since these believers understood fundamental doctrine. The list of non-negotiable foundational doctrines includes: “repentance from dead works;” “faith toward God;” “baptisms (both water and Spirit);” “laying on of hands;” “resurrection of the dead;” and “eternal judgment.” In the same way that the alphabet is the basis for words and vocabulary, these doctrines are the building blocks that form our foundation of faith.
There are other foundational principles that form the basis for Christian living. They include, but are not limited to, spiritual disciplines, inward and outward holiness, stewardship, worship, fellowship, and disciple-making. Before the superstructure of a building can be constructed, the foundation must be laid. It is Jesus’ plan for us to grow into spiritual maturity, becoming fully devoted followers of Him. Reaching our potential as Christians requires each of us to establish and maintain a firm spiritual foundation.
If we dig deep to lay a foundation of faith and build a life of spiritual maturity on that foundation, our lives will be filled with the glory of God. It is to that end that we should examine the foundation of our lives, ensuring that we are built on the Rock.