A House on a Rock
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What you build your house with and the materials you choose to use are important. Biblical truth over pop culture—bricks over straw or twigs! Some aspects of your home and décor can and will change with time, but the foundation is something that needs to remain. A house built upon a rock.
In Matthew 7:24–27 Jesus says, “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 wind 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.”1
In verse 25 we find the phrase “beat on.” A very similar expression, “beat against,” is also found in verse 27. While both phrases mean pretty much the same thing in English, when you look up the original Greek you notice that they are two different Greek words. In verse 25 the Greek word is prospipto, which means to violently fall upon; attack; or rush upon. In the context of verse 25, it means that when a global type of flood comes or a huge amount of water rushes in, the house that is built on the rock will stand. Contrast that to verse 27, where the Greek word is proskopto, which means dash against or surge against. In the context of that verse, it means that when a small amount of water comes, like a creek, the house that is built on the sand will fall, and the fall will be great.
In other words, if your life is anchored in Jesus and grounded in Him, then even through the biggest, toughest difficulties that life can throw at you, your house will stand. You will be able to weather that storm because Jesus will be your rock, your stability; He’ll hold you up. But if a house is not grounded in Jesus and His Word but is built on a weak foundation, like sand, then even the tiniest little difficulty can knock that house, or life, for a loop.
John Piper, in his book Spectacular Sins: And Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ, states: “Christianity is not a game; it’s not a therapy. All of its doctrines flow from who God is and what He has done in history. They correspond to hard facts. Christianity is more than facts, but not less. There is faith and hope and love. But these don’t float in the air. They grow like great cedar trees in the rock of God’s truth. Those who will be left standing will be those who have built their houses on the rock of great, objective truth with Jesus Christ as the origin, center, and goal of it all.”2
Adoniram Judson, who lived from 1788 through 1850, was an amazing example of someone who built his life upon a rock. He was an American missionary who served in Burma for 40 years. But his life wasn’t glorious at all. Adoniram was only 25 when he and his wife went to Burma. During those first years they experienced loneliness and poor health. It was six years before they won their first convert. On top of that, Adoniram was in prison for two years. Talk about a heavy storm beating against one’s house! Then, shortly after he was released from prison, his wife and baby daughter died. It almost seemed like Adoniram received blow after blow of harsh winds and rain. It was one difficulty and heartrending experience after another. And yet, through it all, Adoniram’s “house” remained standing.
He may not have always felt like it was standing. There were probably times when he felt defeated and destroyed. But history shows that he was not destroyed and that his life’s work and efforts were worth the many sacrifices he made. One proof is that when Adoniram began his mission in Burma, he set a goal of translating the Bible into Burmese and founding a church of 100 members. By the time he died, his legacy included the Bible translated into Burmese, 100 churches planted, and over 8,000 believers.
When I think of Adoniram’s life and legacy, I’m frankly amazed at how he could keep forging ahead even after facing and being beaten on by so many of life’s storms. I have come to realize that it wasn’t simply the inner strength that Adoniram must have had, or the incredible willpower or gumption. It was about who he was relying on to hold him up through the storms, the rock that he was in essence built on—which was Jesus. The reason Adoniram was able to face the life-threatening winds and storms of life, and yet remain standing, was that he was grounded in Jesus.
So the question for each of us is, where are we building our house, so that when the storms of life come—and they certainly will—our house will continue to stand because it is firmly founded on the Rock?—Dia3
Weathering life’s storms
Jesus describes the storms of life as a matter of fact. He does not say “If” those storms come. Twice he says, “The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house.”
So we can be sure that our life’s foundation will be tested. There’s no getting around it. The question is whether the foundation will stand up to the test. Have we chosen to build on a firm foundation, or not? ...
If our spiritual houses, which are being built in our hearts and minds, are solidly based on Jesus and his Word, we can have complete confidence that no matter what happens, our souls are secure. This means grounding ourselves in Christ every day and making wise choices through the guidance of his Spirit before the storms of life come. Only in him can we be assured that our foundation is rock-solid.
Lord Jesus, we rely on you completely to survive the storms of life. Because of you, we are confident that our foundation will remain secure even when the rain, rising waters, and winds come to test us. In your name we pray. Amen.—Julia Prins Vanderveen4
A spiritual building code
During His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told a story about two men: one who built his house upon a rock and another who built his house upon sand. The house built upon a rock weathered the storm, and the builder is called wise; but the house built on the sand collapsed during the storm, and the builder is called foolish.
The meaning of this parable is quite obvious: proper foundations are necessary. With a literal house, it is unwise to build on sand, because the foundation will be unsteady and the house will eventually suffer some kind of damage. This will waste resources, and all the time and work put into building the house in the first place will have gone for nothing. In contrast, it is wise to build one’s house on a sure foundation; anchoring to bedrock makes a building able to withstand the test.
But Jesus’ sermon was not concerned with house construction or building code violations. The spiritual meaning of the parable is found in Matthew 7:24: “Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” We are each building a life. The proper foundation for a life is Jesus’ words—not just the hearing of them, but the doing of them, too.5
It seems at times that everything in the world is set up to make us turn away from God’s words. And often, our own feelings pull us toward doing the exact opposite of what the Bible says. But a wise man will follow the words of God despite these pressures—not as a way to “show off” or earn salvation, but because he trusts God. All through the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus presented Himself as the final authority on and fulfiller of the Law; He ends the sermon with a call to heed His message and, in fact, find one’s security in Him.6
As we follow the Lord, learning to trust and obey Him, we receive a reward: our “house” is steady and solid, unshaken by circumstances. The wise man is the believer whose life is built upon the Rock of Christ; in this world he has faith and hope, and in the next everlasting life and love.7 The wise man is like the tree planted by the riverside, whose leaf does not wither.8—GotQuestions.org9
Published on Anchor June 2022. Read by Jerry Paladino.
2 Crossway Books (2008), 57.
3 Adapted from a Just1Thing podcast, a Christian character-building resource for young people.
5 See James 1:22.
6 See 1 Corinthians 3:11.
7 See 1 Corinthians 13:13.
8 Psalm 1:1–3.