“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
The coast of Maine showcases many 100-year-old homes, some of them lighthouses. They are nestled securely in the cliffs that grace the shore. They have withstood the test of time in spite of the many elements that battered them. I’m sure the occupants have had some tense moments as hurricane force winds howled outside. But most likely, these homes never moved an inch. Any damage was cosmetic. Paint chipped, shingles flew away, and a window shattered.
Oh, that my spirit were that unmovable. Neither a phone call nor any tragic news delivered to me would have the capacity to uproot my connection to God and my belief in His love and sovereignty. I would be like that house, its foundation built into the immovable cliffs, and nothing could rock me off my foundation.
How do I arrive at such a place of stability? “Hearing and doing”, Jesus says. Just hearing the truth, making notes, and pondering profound words in the stillness of the day is not enough. Words form suppositions – yet unproven. Yet, I am often content to bask in good teaching and take pleasant head trips amidst interesting facts. I take copious notes, expand and challenge my mind, and assume that I’ve grown. Not true.
It is not until I test what I learned by putting it into practice that my new beliefs will be cemented into my spirit as truth. I need to relax into them, knowing that I am testing them against the storms of real life. Every time I trust them in the laboratory of experience, my foundation strengthens.
God is going to call each of us to new places in the coming year. He spent 2018 planting new seeds of truth in our spirits. We might have thought that learning them was the point of it all. But the real learning will come from future experiences when we take the seeds and sow them in the soil of what lies ahead. I need never fear a new journey. The truths are not untested hypotheses. Because God spoke them, they are true. I can also know that many before me have tested them and stood strong. In this next year and beyond, the Lord is my rock and my fortress.
There are things I say I believe, Lord, that will be scary to put into practice. But, I’m no longer content to save risk for another day. Now is the time, Lord! Amen