Before we were even dating, my husband bought a fixer upper. And let me tell you, not even Chip and Joanna Gaines would’ve wanted to tackle this place. The house had gone vacant for sometime, inviting lots of little (and not so little) critters to make themselves at home. The walls were crumbling. The floors were black and peeling. The living room ceiling didn’t exist. And I won’t even mention the smell. Why did my husband go forward with purchasing this place? He was assured it had a firm foundation.
I don’t know much about buying or fixing homes. But I have learned from binge-watching Fixer Upper that a solid foundation matters. If that’s given way, you want to stay away—no matter how low the cost. Keep searching until you find a home with a firm foundation.
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’ final parable explores the value of a house built on the rock. In Matthew 7:24, Jesus instructs, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Jesus makes it clear that a follower of Christ must go beyond listening to His Words. We must take care to put what we’ve discovered in His word into action. “Everyone who hears these words...and does them.” Does: A simple verb meaning to perform an action; work on; or make progress. Notice, Jesus isn’t saying read my Word and obey it perfectly. He is saying listen and work toward following it. The one who does this is wise. True wisdom is the practice of discovering and applying our knowledge of God and His Word.
Proverbs 1:7 states, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge...” Paul also stresses the value of wisdom founded in Christ to the Colossians in verses 2:2-3 “...that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
Wisdom—the act of knowing God’s word and acting on it—is one mark of a Christian. Maybe you’re like me, and when you think of a wise man, you think of a little figure dressed in royal robes featured in your mother’s nativity set. Like me, you might be thinking I don’t feel wise. Initially, pursuing wisdom seems counter to an everyday, normal life. But Jesus was speaking to the everyday person in His sermon. The everyday person, me and you included, is instructed to pursue wisdom. Wisdom is not reserved for the elite or extra intelligent. Wisdom, according to Jesus, is accessible to the everyday person.
We will stand in those storms, not in our own strength, but in the Lord’s so that others might see the love and power of God even amidst trials.
This was astonishing to the original audience as perhaps it is just as astonishing to you and me. Anyone has the power to be wise. They must only listen to God’s Word and strive, in God’s strength and grace, to follow it. Jesus uses the metaphor of building a house on the rock. The rock is a steady source of strength. It is the foundation. It is the Word of God. Those who listen and apply God’s Word are like wise men who build their homes on a firm foundation.
It’s been seven years, and our fixer upper is now our home. We’ve made great progress, but like any fixer upper—there’s always more to be done. Likewise, our journey of studying and doing God’s Word should not be accomplished overnight. In fact, it will take our whole lives to discover who Jesus is and what it looks like to follow Him full-heartedly day to day. Our pursuit of wisdom is not a pursuit of perfection. Rather, we pursue wisdom so that we can withstand the storms of suffering that will indeed come. We will stand in those storms, not in our own strength, but in the Lord’s so that others might see the love and power of God even amidst trials.
Jesus continues his parable, “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.”
But it did not fall. What a beautiful promise from our Lord. Floods will come, winds will blow and beat, but a life built on Jesus will stand. We are not protected from the consequences of sin in our fallen world. But true faith in the unfailing Rock equips us to endure those trials. I think of Paul who endured so much persecution in his journey to share the Good News to the lost. He knew he could withstand anything, if it meant others would see the life-giving power of Christ. In 2 Corinthians 4:7-9, Paul exclaims, “we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God, not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despise; persecuted, but not forsaken...”
Paul is a great example of a wise man who built his house on the Rock. He was beat in every way, but his spirit remained uncrushed. He continued to treasure God’s Word and let the power the Gospel be known, even amidst suffering.
My dear sisters in Christ, let’s pursue wisdom. Let’s build our house on the unfailing Rock. Psalm 46:1 encourages us that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” The Lord’s promises were true then just as they are now. Together, let’s pursue time in prayer as we read our Bibles. Together, let’s work toward building a house that cannot be shaken when the storms crash against us. Let’s commit to encouraging one another as we dig into the word and make progress in acting it out in our everyday life.
Rachel Rowe is a wife to Caleb and mama to Adalyn, Oliver, and baby #3 coming in June! She’s learning to let the Word of Christ dwell in her heart. And finding out what that looks like in the everyday moments.