Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
Matthew 7:24-25 (NIV)
In the passage above, Jesus is concluding his sermon on the mount, where he taught how to live after God in praxis, not just theology. For Jesus, the best practice is to do much more than just surrender to the inviting presence of God. Spiritual growth and strength are about surrender, certainly, but it is also about making strategic, early decisions that will prove to be wise over time, or as the bible calls it: being shrewd.
To illustrate how early these decisions need to be made, Jesus paints a picture of two home builders. One is wise and the other is foolish. Both with to build a house. Both have heard spiritual words spoken. It is as if they both attended the same class and listened to the same professor, but one is going to be called wise and the other is going to be called foolish.
We are going to focus on the wise builder because he starts with a foundation. He knows that nothing that he puts in the house, be it beautiful décor or lavish carpets, will matter if he does not anchor the house in the right foundation. So, he looks for a rock on which to build and he builds out from there. He doesn’t build his life and then find a foundation to rest it on. He finds the foundation first, and then builds strategically from there.
In other words, walking by strong faith starts long before worship, surrender, or the exercise of your gifts. Joy and happiness start long before outer actions and public ministry. Spiritual power and strong Christ-like living is about strategy. Right after surrender to conversion, strategy becomes critically important.
If we want to live strong, we have to decide to exercise our faith around certain strategic choices. The first choice we have to make is to find that solid rock. We cannot exercise our faith in response only. We cannot simply wait on God and fall more in love with him. We need more strategy than that. We have to answer specific questions: How do I want to live? How much space in this world do I want to take up? How do I want my presence to affect that space I live in? How hard am I willing to fight?
Faith is not just responding to God. Faith is about being strategic about our response to God. We don’t want to simply live, but we want to live a strong life. Faith is not just existing, it is making a difference. Only then can we live a life of greatness and introduce others to a great God. Then we create a great atmosphere and shape a great environment.
However, we cannot tell if a house is built on a rock or in the sand if we only evaluate it in good weather. Everyone’s life looks good until a storm hits it, but once the storm comes, we can see who built their life on sand. If we are good weather Christians, we need to change our lives and take a strategic approach to rebuilding our lives from the foundation.