Read His Words Before Ours!
I’ll never forget the day we realized our home’s foundation was compromised.
We’d only lived there six months, but we had big plans for our first home. With the current living space only having two bedrooms, my husband made remodeling plans to finish the basement, effectively doubling the size of our home.
Excitement was in the air until the day he walked upstairs, level in hand, and delivered the news: the cinder block walls were bowed in.
It wasn’t noticeable at first…
But a level doesn’t lie.
In the initial building process, wise steps hadn’t been taken to ensure a secure foundation. There was no way to move forward with our construction when we couldn’t trust the foundation. It would take four years of research, planning, praying, and consulting to find an affordable way to secure our home’s foundation.
A Sure Foundation
Praise God He is nothing like mankind! Proverbs 3:19 tells us, “The Lord founded the earth by wisdom, and established the heavens by understanding.” God, by nature, is all-wise, all-knowing and has no need to be taught, but is Himself the teacher. The source of wisdom and understanding is God.
Job 28:26 says, “the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, to turn away from evil is understanding”. Likewise, Proverbs 1:7 teaches, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: fools despise wisdom and discipline.”
Most would agree that wisdom is a good thing to be acquired and evil should be avoided. But who says which is which?
And what does fearing the Lord have to do with this?
Who is Wise?
Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:24-27, “Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. It collapsed with a great crash.”
Did you catch that? Jesus teaches it is a wise person who “acts on” His words. Obedience lays an unshakeable foundation bringing protection, care, and endurance. Conversely, a foolish person will not act upon or obey the words of Christ; this decision is like building his home on shifting sand, completely vulnerable to destruction and will eventually washed away by storms.
It matters as much as a strong foundation matters for your home. It matters so much that Jesus equates wisdom with obedience and foolishness with disobedience. His Word defines what is straight and what is crooked (Isaiah 28:17).
This doesn’t mean we obey to receive a gold star, a badge, or a self-righteous rock.
OUR righteous deeds are actually like polluted garments (Isaiah 64:6).
Obedience does mean wisdom is only found in listening to, following and obeying the words of Jesus. The way of Jesus is the rock. The Psalmist knew this well, “For God alone, Oh my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.” (Psalm 62:5-7)
Our Foundation Shows
James 2:14-26 gives us another angle on what it looks like in real life when our foundation is Jesus Christ.
Verse 14 says, “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but does not have works? Can such faith save him?”
Verse 17 continues, “faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead by itself.”
Additionally, verse 18 continues, “You see that faith was active together with his [Abraham’s] works, and by works, faith was made complete”.
Is James saying we must work for our salvation?
Is he contradicting Paul’s words in Ephesians 2:8-9? By no means! The order of things matters and we must use Scripture to interpret Scripture, (a plug for proper hermeneutics!). In Paul’s writings he helps us understand the only perfect, wise, secure foundation is God Himself, His Word, and His way through Jesus Christ.
This means the moment of justification for a person is an absolute free gift from God.
James then helps us understand how, if that free gift has been planted within our hearts by God (Colossians 2:13), it will show itself as our foundation with lives resting squarely upon Jesus. What will that look like? Our actions will be in line with the rock of the words of Christ, and not on the shifting sand of our own desires, sin and unbelief.
To be clear, our lives here on earth will never perfectly reflect the glory of Jesus Christ. We will still sin, fail, and stumble. This is not a perfection game, but a remembering discipline (Proverbs 3:1-4). When I forget my foundation, I start building a side-hustle castle on the sand of my own desires, which God graciously allows to be swept away reminding me of who I really am in Him.
For our daily remembering, it’s important to ask questions like:
To whom and what am I listening?
With what am I filling my mind?
The answer to those questions will answer these:
How will I prioritize my life?
How will I make decisions?
How will I love today?
When the words of Christ as our foundation, we will walk in wisdom and understanding and we will be hungry to take in His wisdom. We will choose to obey Him, trusting He is, and always will be, our sturdy rock in an ever-tumultuous sea.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!