Bible Verses that have changed my life:
24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”[Words of Jesus]
This passage is possibly the single saying of Jesus that has had the greatest impact on my life. As a passage, it has been continuously present in my life from childhood, exerting a gentle consistent pressure in my mindset as a Christian.
Growing up as a child, this is a passage that I heard countless times, in Sunday School lessons and songs. I still remember those times so vividly! I can barely believe that so much time has elapsed and I am now definitely an adult and those endless, carefree days of childhood are now long gone!
Even as a child, I remember that this passage spoke deeply to me. This is one of the beauties of the teachings of Jesus: His teachings are simple enough to be grasped by children. Even as a child, I could appreciate that building a house on rock rather than sand would give a good, solid foundation. And then it was also easy to appreciate that building on sand would give an unstable foundation; because the grains of sand are not bound together, they could easily separate and fall apart. (I know someone might feel tempted to point out that technically sand is itself a rock. Yes, perhaps in modern scientific classification! I think that the word in the Bible means “rock” in terms of “hard stone”!) And then again the passage also talks about a storm. Once again, even as a child, you can appreciate that even a house built on an unstable foundation such as sand might be able to withstand everyday unchallenging conditions, but might then completely fall apart with more violent conditions. So then, as a child, I grasped this teaching because it was simple and vivid and easy.
However, in more recent years in adulthood, I have come to appreciate this teaching in another way. The concept of “building my house upon a rock” is something that I have come to take to heart in every part of my life. This is especially true as Christians because we will get shaken! We will face storms of life, often deliberately directed at us by the devil.
When I first made up my mind to make God my entire life, including my career, it was clear to me that I had to be totally grounded in every way – in God’s truth, in God’s Word, in everything and this is what I have pursued in my life. It is only later that I have come to appreciate that in pursuing groundedness in Christ, I have essentially been building my life upon a rock, even without explicitly thinking of this Bible passage. In pursuing groundedness, my emphasis has always been on being grounded in my walk with God. For over a decade I’ve been examining my heart to identify and root out anything that could make me walk away from God. However, it is only recently that I have come to appreciate just how much groundedness in God has also resulted in groundedness in life itself.
My life has certainly faced storms. Sometimes severe storms which would otherwise have seemed impossible to overcome. And yet, by the awesome grace of God, here I am still standing, still in Christ, still fighting and still pushing forward. I know without a doubt that that is due to the foundation that I have in Christ. Sometimes, to be candid, I have taken my foundation for granted. This is not something that I am proud of, and it is definitely not something that I would recommend. However, God in His mercy has upheld me, and brought me through various issues. And yet I know that I need to keep revisiting my foundation. I need to keep consolidating my groundedness, and crying out for more groundedness, deeper stability in God and in God’s Word and in prayer.
Furthermore, many readers might know that I also write a blog on preparing for a strong and beautiful Christian marriage. It has been so easy for me to simply transfer over my approach to groundedness in Christ and apply that to the idea of preparing for my future marriage. When I write posts about building a heavy-duty marriage, I’ve used different analogies, however, what I am essentially advising is the need to build your marriage upon the rock. In every way my advice on “Finding Mr Huggie-Wuggie” amounts to building your house upon the rock, the house of your marriage, upon the rock of Christ. To me it seems so obvious that marriage is one area in which every life will face storms. To me it seems clear that the best way to tackle this is to deal with it pre-emptively, primarily in the choice of spouse. If every man was essentially the same, and every woman was essentially the same, then no-one would need to make such an effort to choose the right spouse. However we all know that that cannot possibly be true. Furthermore, character is so important and marriage is so central to someone’s life that marrying a spouse that is him/herself built on sand is actually like building your own life on sand, especially if you are the wife in the marriage. I can never understand how people rush into these ill-advised alliances, and then they are surprised when issues start cropping up. I guess that something else that God has given me is forward thinking, the ability to look ahead beyond present circumstances.
I remember in Sunday School lessons or parables how they sometimes taught this lesson: that a house that is built on sand could be built to look very attractive! Actually, a great analogy springs to mind just as I write this: the number of times I have bought beautiful wallets that have not been made of leather. Once again it is a different analogy but teaching the same lesson, and the reason it springs to mind so easily is because I have had cause to sadly meditate upon the lesson many times. So I will see these beautiful wallets, and I will check the material composition. And I will see that this wallet is made of PVC rather than leather. And yet, because of the item’s beauty, I will go ahead and buy it anyway, almost hoping against hope. Well guess what?! Invariably the wallet will prove true to its PVC composition, and will fall apart within a relatively short space of time, where a leather one would have lasted many years longer. And so it is with these beautiful houses built on sand, and with spouses. On the outside they can look so beautiful and so attractive, saying all the right things, attractively and compellingly dressed, so that altogether they seem enticing and irresistible. But invariably, their shoddy and inferior foundation will reveal itself in painful ways. So then here is an intelligent question: why can you not have a beautiful wallet that is actually made of leather, or a beautiful house or spouse that is built on rock? Many Christians often seem to act as if these ideas are mutually exclusive, that if someone is unapologetically and flamboyantly beautiful “on the outside”, then that means that they must be built on sand “on the inside”. However, I see no reason why this has to be the case, and I am personally holding out for a husband who is deeply attractive to me both on the inside with his character and on the outside with his irresistible smiles and tender hugs – and attractive appearance too, if we’re going to go there!
So this for me has definitely been one of the most powerful verses in the Bible. From childhood it has sat in the periphery of my thinking, quietly waiting to assert its influence in my approach to life. But here is the thing: the Bible is full of these powerful verses. I’ve only written on a very very few verses so far that have deeply touched my life or utterly changed it, but there are so many more, which have similarly impacted my life greatly. I have to admit that in many ways I admire people of no faith: I often ask myself: “Just what do they base their lives upon?” That said, I guess that there are so many inspirational quotes and so on that are not explicitly Christian or Biblical. However, if these inspirational thoughts do not actually come from God, then they do not necessarily have the power of God implicit within them, and building your life upon them could end up being like building your life upon sand.
Photo of Greek Monastery built on rock by EvitaEwa on Pixabay