Finding Stability: What Are You Building Your Life On?

Over the past few months, I’ve noticed a recurring theme in the worship songs I’ve listened to, the Bible verses I’ve read, and the sermons I’ve listened to: what is the foundation you are building your life on? 

Recently, I’ve been pondering the section from Luke 6:46-49, when Jesus is preaching to the crowds, sharing the beatitudes and guidance for our lives. At the end of Luke 6, Jesus shares about the man who built his house upon the rock:

46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? 47 Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49 But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.” (Luke 6:46-49 ESV)
If you grew up in the church like I did, you have heard this set of verses numerous times. You’ve probably sang the song, “The wise man built his house upon the rock, the house upon the rock, and the rains came tumbling down.” But over the last few months, as I’ve begun to evaluate how I spend my time and energy, these verses have taken on more depth for me.

At any given point in my day, if you ask me what foundation I have built my life on, I would easily say, “Jesus.” In my heart, I believe that everything – my ministry, blessings, gifts, and faith – are all from God.

However, when I am really honest with myself, I realize that I'm so quick to forget this in the face of adversity. Yes, my faith and belief in Jesus are an ongoing part of my life, but what is the foundation I am building my sense of security and hope on? Is it in Jesus’ promises? The hope of eternal life with Him? Am I half-heartedly building a foundation on the identity of being a Christian, but not actually doing what He calls me to do?  

When I have (yet another) unexpected car repair, is my foundation rooted in a strong sense that God will provide for my family?

When I am passed over for some opportunity through the church, is my foundation built on the knowledge that my identity is in God, not the success of my ministry?

I do often find a sense of peace in God's provision and sovereignty eventually, but it takes a while. My initial reaction is often one of panic. Of stress. Of worrying about our finances and the future. Of hurt or frustration. Of feeling like I’m not good enough. Of feeling that God is absent or uninvolved.

When Jesus was sharing the parable of the men who built their houses on the rock and sand, he shared that both houses were covered with flood waters.  It wasn't that one man's life was easier than the other man's life. Both men knew that the floods would come and they had to make a choice about where they would build their homes. The man on the rock had to “dig deep," but it was worth it. When the flood waters came, they “could not shake [his house], because it had been well built.”

There will be flood waters in this life. Jesus said that, “…for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5:45 ESV).  The question can’t be “what if something bad happens?” It has to be, “when adversity comes and I'm rocked to the core by life, what is my foundation built on?”

Do you find that when the flood waters come, is your foundation built on prayer? A deep sense of peace in God's plan?

Or is your foundation built on your own success, your own financial security? Is it built on what others can do for you or what they think of you? Is it built on fear? Worry?

Are you living a life built on the all-encompassing, gracious love that Jesus calls us to? Or is it built on bitterness? A sense of injustice or resentment?

Intellectually, I can tell you that I want my life to be built on Jesus, but when I'm too distracted or lazy, and digging deep into the Word and prayer seems like too much work, it is easy to shift to more "worldly" foundations. And as I am getting older, I realize how dangerous and unstable those foundations are.  I’ve seen too many people around me build their lives on weak and shaky foundations, and ultimately fall “to ruin” as Jesus warns us will happen.

Over the past few months, I’ve become more aware that I want to have a secure foundation in Him. Not in myself, not in my successes, not in how good my marriage/children/house looks. Those are the things that the world tells us will make us happy and secure, but they aren’t long-lasting. They are unstable and weak. You will be secure until you lose your job or your marriage, or you gain fifty pounds, or your church falls apart.

Life is too unpredictable and difficult to have a weak foundation.

Instead, I want a foundation where I am unshakable in the face of persecution, instability and fear.

One of my favorite worship songs (“Build My Life”) has a bridge that says, “I will build my life upon your love, it is a firm foundation. And I will put my trust in you alone and I will not be shaken.”

Do you feel that way? Or does your life feel wobbly these days? Do you find yourself defining yourself by the size of your savings account or the number of social media followers you have?  Do you find your emotions constantly shifting when the foundations you’ve built your house on start to shift and shake?

I hope that you find comfort and direction in Galatians 2:19-21 (ESV):

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.”
I want that - to have my life be built on the firm foundation of Jesus, where I am joined together with the body of Christ.

So let’s dig deep, my friends, and build our lives on the only foundation that can withstand the crazy, torrential rains of this life - Jesus Christ. 

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  1. I'm with you on this! If He is not our foundation, all we build will be in vain. It's another way of saying some of what God's been teaching me, too!

    Heather Bock

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