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Do You Know the Key Question to All Life’s Problems? (With Parable of House on the Rock)
Do you know that there is a key question that will help you to “unlock” the best decision to make for any and all of life’s problems? We are going to reveal that question in today’s episode, but first – let’s look at a parable from Jesus.
I’m going straight to Matthew 7:24-27. This is Jesus speaking. “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”
Ok, let’s stop a minute and ponder some of the themes we have been discovering in Jesus’s words and teachings. Do you remember from a couple of episodes back, Jesus was in the house to take a break and get away from the crowds, and when informed that his family members were outside the house within the crowd, Jesus essentially stated, “Those who are learning and listening to me– they are my brothers and sisters and mother.” And now Jesus extends on this by further explaining a benefit of listening and applying. Here, Jesus has explained, that “those who hear my teachings and implement them, they are wise and building their lives on a solid foundation.”
When we stay close to Jesus, we now know that we receive two significant benefits:
1) We are considered to be like family to Jesus; and
2) We can have assurance that by following Jesus’s teachings that we are banking our lives on a value and a purpose that is strong, good, and lasting.
Now, let’s look at the whole parable, back to Matthew 7:
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.
And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
The house or the life of the person who does not learn and follow Jesus’s teachings – his teachings, I want to emphasize this, Jesus specifically says hears “my words.” I am adding that clarification in to make sure we understand, Jesus said those who listen to “my words” and “do them” are living in a strong house. He does not say those who listen to other Christian leaders, or those who follow by all the rules and traditions of religion, or those who keep the commandments and laws of the Old Testament. He says “my words.” It is “my words” that if you follow you will be building your home and your life on a firm foundation.
Ok, so what about this house on the sand?
Here is where I like to take this parable and apply it to ushere in our ways as Americans living today. See, in America when we think of a house on the sand, we think of a beach house, right? A vacation home or a vacation rental. A beach house is often built on stilts and there are methods to strengthen it, but the conditions are that when the hurricane comes that house has a very good chance of collapsing.
So to the person who may be a new follower of Christ; know this – by focusing on and applying Jesus’s teachings - and again – I emphasize on Jesus’s teachings – not on church traditions or the opinions of all the people at church – you have assurance that you have are building a life based on long lasting values and purpose.
However, I also want those of us who have been walking with God for awhile to consider that this parable is for us too. How? Well, here is the way I like to frame it. I actually didn’t intend that pun, but since we are talking about building houses on rocks vs sand, then I also want to frame it this way: In America, we Christians are blessed that we have our houses on concrete foundations; but many of us also have the opportunity to take vacations. Some of us own a vacation house and others of us will go rent a house at the beach for a week or two. And similarly, in our lives – we have two houses and two ways of living. Let’s say we have times in our lives when we are staying close to Jesus, and then other times we really backslide. We move back and forth between our main house and our vacation house. And you know what? That vacation house – oh it looks so relaxing! It looks tempting! We can just move over there for awhile. We decide to take the risk – or maybe we don’t even consciously decide to take the risk, we just kind of slide into this state of being where we are not listening or looking for Jesus in our lives, and we get comfortable there.
And when the storm comes – whoosh – we may not weather it very well. We are less likely to weather it, and we may even lose things, we may even lose something in that vacation house on the sand. I have friends who have lost relationships, lost friendships and even marriages, lost their sense of integrity – all because, and they will admit this themselves, it’s not me judging them – they will admit this themselves – all because they had distanced themselves from Jesus. That’s where all the problems began, and they let themselves get too comfortable there. And whoosh – when the storms came, there was catastrophic loss.
Now for anyone who is feeling guilty about taking literal vacations from time to time – that is not the point. There is nothing wrong with vacation homes, but take Jesus with you when you go. Vacations are better with Jesus too. Take Jesus with you and keep Him close and he will help to strengthen that vacation house too.
So for our closing reflection, think about this: When was the last time that you weathered a terrible storm in life? Or maybe even you are weathering one right now.
Ask yourself – How did you react during that storm? Or during the current storm? Do you see any connections with the way you weathered a storm and where you were in your walk or in your closeness with God at that time?
And finally – I want to share with you, a key question you may ask yourself whenever a problem comes into your life. When you have a big problem or a big storm in life, or any kind of problem in life that you need to resolve – this is a question you can ask yourself to help determine if you are responding well to that problem. Are you ready to hear it?
Ask yourself, “Is the way I am handling this problem, is it bringing me closer to God? Or is it taking me further away?” Likewise, if you have two paths or multiple choices that you can take to solve a problem, choose the one that will bring you closer to God.
When evaluating the options you have to solve a problem or to make a choice about going one way or another – choose the one that will keep you or bring you closer to God. That one – that choice - is likely the right choice.
If you would like to learn simple, practical ways to walk with God every single day, then you would really enjoy Closer to God: Simple Methods, Starting Today
If you want to learn more deeply and fully about what Jesus taught, then you would enjoy He Called: 56 Daily Studies and Reflections with the Words of Christ.
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