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. Matthew 7:24-27
Sometimes I wonder about how well I’m putting his words into practice. Sometimes I wonder: where is my house being built?
Sure, I’ve got some of his words down. I don’t murder and I try not to hate. I don’t want to judge people and I am faithful to my wife. But those are the “easy” ones. I say easy because I’m just not prone to committing those as much. But what about the other words? The words about not worrying and not seeking honor for myself? What about the words regarding faith and not doubting?
And there are those words about where our heart is and seeking God’s kingdom first. And don’t get me started on those words about being last instead of first and being great by serving. Yes, sometimes I wonder about how well I’m putting his words into practice. Sometimes I wonder about where I’m building my house.
Jesus makes it pretty clear. Sometimes life is going to flood. The rains are going to come, the water is going to rise, and just like with that first, earthly flood back in Noah’s day, the waters are going to wash away everything that isn’t as it should be.
Jesus says that if we hear his words and put them into practice it’s like building our house on a strong foundation—a rock foundation. Those rains will come and they will wash away a great deal, but not what we’ve built on his words. Not what we are living out.
Following Jesus isn’t just about knowing stuff that’s in the Bible and it isn’t just about singing songs on Sundays. It’s about living out his words. And I like the way Jesus puts it. He says we need to put his words into practice. Practice. That’s a hopeful word because I’ve tried to live his words out enough times to know I don’t do it well and I don’t have any of it mastered. But I can practice.
Even as I write these words, though, I’m aware of how often I’m the foolish man. I hear the words and then go off and do my own thing. I build my house on sand instead of putting his words into practice. Who would have thought that the call to love your neighbor as yourself would have been the hardest call?
And yet, I will continue to practice, continue to build my house, continue to seek the rock foundation.