Thursday, November 02, 2006

The wise man didn't build his house on the rock

Well although many profound, intense, and important things have been happening in my little square cubit of the world, I have been grasping to process and communicate anything profound and worth you taking the time to read. Hence the lack of substantial or thought provoking posts over the past few weeks. Not that I generally ever think of myself as thought provoking or profound. Unfortunately I do not feel like this juicy brainfart is going to go away very soon so instead of waiting it out I'm going to try to throw all you ravenous readers a bone to chew on, all two of you. This is something that God has really been convicting me and showing me the importance of in my own life as well as becoming the main message of my ministry to the youth. Come to think of it, as simple and basic as this teaching is and although however convoluted and corse my communication of it is, it remains deeply profound and essential. The issue I am wrestling with is that of obedience. One would think that a seminary student and youth pastor who is immersed in theology and Biblical exegesis on a daily basis would have moved beyond struggling with not only being obedient but understanding the essence of obedience and seeing its foundational importance. One would be wrong in thinking so. It is actually so much easier to decieve myself into believing that I am being obedient by just merely knowing things about God and being able to exposit all over your face. Even though the scripture is replete with warnings that belief and knowledge without obedience is really no belief at all, or at least not belief in the Living and True God. One of the most helpful passages that has reaffirmed this in my heart is the Luke 6:46-49. I had grown up hearing this parable, singing songs about it and is one of the last passages I would have expected to find a renewed conviction to live a life of obeidience. This was one of those children's church stories, not a paradigm shattering point of no return. Then I understood what it was actually saying.

46 “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?
47 “Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like:
48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.
49 “But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the 1torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.”

Since first hearing this story and hearing the song "the wise man built his house upon the rock..." I always pictured two distinct houses. One was a mighty house, perched on a yosemitesque granite mountain. This is the wise man's house. The fool however was swaying in his hammock in his straw hut, beachside on some pacific island unaware of the tsunami marching across the sea to obliterate him. The wise man will weather the storm cause he is not on the sand but on the mighty rock, right? Wrong. That interpretation given to us by the sunday school song is not only wrong, but deadly. Let's look back at what Jesus actually says. There are three parts the the wise man's house. The house, the rock, and the foundation. It is not the rock which is the emphasis of the story. It is the foundation. The picture is of two houses side by side. The rock is beneath both of them. Only the wise man however has dug through the sand and built a foundation on that rock. It is the foundation that makes him survive the storm not the rock. It is the lack of a foundation that proves deadly to the fool, not the sand. So, what is this foundation. In the parable Christ states that the rock is Himself and His words, ie. the Word of God. But it is the foundation that makes a man wise. In the parable the foundation is the person who not only hears and knows the Word of God but acts on them. Obedience to the Word of God is what gives an individual a foundation that will whether any storm. This takes repentance, perserverance, and self-death, all of which are gifts of God. It is so simple yet so profound. A Christian who does not display a life of continually seeking to be obedient to God does not have a foundation. Their house will not stand in the storms of this life nor will they stand in the raging storm of God's final judgement. The only true response to the Word of Christ is obedience. To "know" the Word of God yet not obey them is a deadly combination.
Join me in seeking to not only coming to Christ and hear His words, but in desperatly acting on those words, not in our strength but the strength that He overwhelmingly provides for us.

Obedience is not just the best way to show we believe, it is the only way.

by His grace,
for His glory,

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