Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. – Matthew 7:24
The picture in Jesus’ parable of the houses build on the rock and the sand is an illustration of the building of a life. We are all seeking to build our lives. We want to build that which is strong and secure; something of which we can be proud as we look back on our lives.
“These words of mine” refers back to the entire sermon on the mount. Hearing and doing is the building of our lives on solid rock. Those who don’t both hear and do are building their lives on the sand, and, ultimately, their lives will fail to stand.
This parable is too easily generalised away. We apply it to “God’s Word”, and in so doing we make it too vast in scope to be able to apply it intelligently to our day to day life. It does apply to all of God’s Word in a general sense, but Jesus intended it to be taken specifically in the context of that which He had just preached. It is the specifics of the sermon on the mount, therefore that determine whether our lives stand or fall.
The message of the sermon on the mount turns the world’s values upside down – it takes the established ideas and values and rips them apart, replacing them with simple, solid instruction:
- don’t fight back
- love your enemies
- give, and give secretly
- pray, and pray secretly
And so it goes on! We build on the rock when we fulfil these simple instructions, both completely and individually. We build on the sand when we fail to do any of these instructions.
Each world inverting command fulfilled is another solid rock built on the solid rock.
We build our lives one brick at a time. Every opportunity taken to love someone who hates, to give in private to the needy, to go the second mile is another brick on the rock.
This is how we build a life that will survive the storm: one brick at a time.