If you attended church as a child, you probably know the song about the wise man building his house upon the rock. His house withstood rain and flood. But the foolish man in the song built his house upon the sand. When the rain came down and the flood went up, his house went splat. As a child, did you ever consider that this song is taken from the Sermon on the Mount? I sure didn’t. Unfortunately, I don’t think I spent too much time thinking about the meaning at all.
But Matthew 7:24-27 says:
Therefore 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.
The song instructs us to build our houses upon Jesus Christ, which is a wonderful sentiment, but pretty nebulous. Jesus’ actual words are not at all nebulous. He says that hearing Him and putting his words into practice is what builds a strong foundation. Head knowledge is not a solid foundation. Knowing what Jesus would do does not make you a wise person who builds their house upon the rock. You can have a lot of knowledge and continually build your house upon the sand.
It’s not the knowing, but the doing that hardens the foundation. Obedience matters not only for the sake of obedience but for what obedience does for us. Jesus tells us here in Matthew that it lays a solid foundation for life. He tells us elsewhere that we are his brothers and sisters if we do the will of His Father. (Matthew 12:50). Learning about Him is wonderful. Studying His Word is always a good thing, but we need to remember that it’s not the whole thing, by any means.
As Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote in The Cost of Discipleship, obedience also leads to belief. The more we obey, the more we believe, and the more we believe, the more we obey. It’s a divinely edifying spiritual cycle we all need to be on. So how can you jump on board by obeying Jesus in some specific way?
Two things come to mind for me: (1) treat my body like the temple that it is (1 Corinthians 6:19-20); and (2) look after orphans and widows in some capacity (James 1:27).
Are there specific teachings from the Bible that you feel particularly convicted by?