"Anyone who listens to my teaching and obeys me is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won't collapse, because it is built on rock. But anyone who hears my teaching and ignores it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will fall with a mighty crash."(Matthew 7:24-27, New Living Translation)
I've been thinking about this passage a lot the last couple of days. Do you notice that the house built upon the rock and the house built upon the sand are faced with the same storm? If you read this passage in the New Kings James even the wording for both is identical. Exactly the same. Usually when I have read that passage I think about the foundation that the two houses are built upon. Yesterday I started thinking about how each house is up against the same thing. This world shows no favoritism.
During my years as a Christian and in ministry I think about the times I have heard someone say that sometimes they don't know why they bother trying to be a Christian. How life is hard and no different than before going to church or coming to faith. If you go back and read the passage above you see that it is pretty much a given that the follower of Christ and the one who doesn't follow Him are going to face many of the same things. Even most Christians will at least acknowledge that being a Christian doesn't mean that life will be a breeze. I think some may say that just because it sounds good, because often when trouble and trials come, many either forget or choose to forget their very own words.
Jesus wasn't afraid to tell it like it was and He surely didn't hold anything back when He told the disciples, "In this world you will have many trials and sorrows." (John 16:33, NLT) Should we expect anything different? However, it is in that same verse that we find where Jesus shows us the difference for the believer, for before He spoke of the trials He first said, "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me." Then immediately following the statement about the trials He said, "But take heart, because I have overcome the world. Ahh, so Jesus doesn't allow us to escape trouble, but He sure does show favor on those that follow Him by being there to gracefully bring peace, strength and even show us how to obtain victory in our trials. I find much relief in knowing that I have an advocate who I can fall back on when struggle comes. Please let there be no misunderstanding; With or without Jesus we would often face the same storm, the same wind and the same rain. God allows the rain to fall on the just and the unjust, (see Matthew 5:45) but it's in how we react to the situation that will make the difference. It is much easier to face the storms with Jesus than without, so use every effort to stay away from that "so what's the difference" attitude. There is a huge difference. Take a look at what Jesus does for those who love Him:
(For today, all scripture quoted is from the New Living Translation)
.......He is the one who died for us and was raised to life for us and is sitting at the place of highest honor next to God, pleading for us. Romans 8:34
.....despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. Romans 8:37
Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save everyone who comes to God through him. He lives forever to plead with God on their behalf. Hebrews 7:25
And how about this encouragement offered to us by Jesus? "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light." Matthew 11:28-30
If Jesus was to promise that if we followed Him there would never be one more problem or tough issue in life, can you imagine how many people would follow Jesus for all the wrong reasons? They would do it for self instead of love of God. They wouldn't really be following Jesus anyway and I doubt if we would ever see any good fruit being produced by them. It would be more like a cult following, but Jesus is way too wise for that. We need to love Jesus simply because He is worthy. The King of Kings, the Lord of Lords.
Remember, God is in three persons, so no matter if you are thinking of Him as the Word Made Flesh, God the Father, or the Holy Spirit, He longs for people to love Him just because of who He is, just like a dad longs for his children to love him simply because he is "Dad." God wants to honor us when we honor Him. One of my favorite verses from the Old Testament scriptures is 2 Chronicles 16:9, "The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him."
Because of my love for Jesus, He lives in me. With Him in me and the more I try to walk like Him, talk like Him and go to the Father like Him, the easier it is to live a victorious life, even when storms are faced. I have faced a lot of trials and there is very little that stresses me out anymore. I'm not being arrogant or boastful and I sure don't think I'm better than others, I certainly am not. I do know who my God is, though and my confidence lies in Him and He IS one to be proud of and I do boast of Him. There is no one like our God!
Is your foundation built on Christ? The next time the rains comes, the next time the floods come, the next time the winds blow and beat against you, remember.............Christ is in you and with Him you can stare adversity right in the face and keep right on standing. Your God will deliver you!!!!
"The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness." John 10:10
Longing to be more like Jesus,