© 2021 Tanya Goffin / Harvest City Church
Many people are worried about what the future holds for them and their families. Life has become uncertain and difficult in so many areas, including health (especially mental health), jobs and finance. The news and social media are filled with pessimism, conspiracy theories, rumour and fake news. Who can we trust and where can we turn for hope? How can we plan for the future? Whether we like it or not, every choice we make and everything we do on a daily basis contributes to our life’s ‘building’.
Jesus also lived in very difficult and turbulent political and economic times and talked to His followers on the importance of building in such a way as to survive (and survive well) the storms of life.
“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house right on the ground, without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.” (Luke 6:46-49)
The right foundation
In 1886, DL Moody was conducting a crusade and a young man stood up to commit his life to Christ. As he did so, he cried out the words which defined the new foundation that would determine his future: ‘I have decided to trust and obey’. Out of these words came the famous hymn ‘When we walk with the Lord’. The chorus goes: ‘Trust and obey, for there’s no other way // To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey’.
This chorus simply states the truth found in Jesus’ words above: trusting and believing God’s Word comes first and shows itself in obedience. Trust without obedience is meaningless and obedience without trust becomes legalistic and leads to pride and burnout.
The apostle Peter describes a life built on the foundations of belief in the truth of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and trust in Him for the forgiveness of our sins. It is a life full of daily surrender and obedience to Jesus and dependence upon Him.
“You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honour. And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. As the Scriptures say, ‘I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem, chosen for great honour, and anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.’” (1 Peter 2:4-6)
The Bible contains stories of many gifted men and women – some who built God’s way and some who didn’t. Abraham was a man who decided to build his life on the promises of God rather than listen to circumstances or what seemed or felt right (Hebrews 11:8-11). In contrast, King Solomon was an amazing and gifted builder but realised too late that everything he had built in the pursuit of happiness did not bring him lasting satisfaction (Ecclesiastes 2:4-11).
God’s building regulations
1. Build carefully
Building is a process that takes time. We need to meditate on God’s Word and pray daily, especially when making important decisions. Our feelings, emotions and circumstances are important, but should not be the basis for making decisions.
‘Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ. Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value.’ (1 Corinthians 3:10-14)
2. Build with the right people
Brothers Sam and Sasan Khosravi, their wives Maryam and Marjan Falahi, Habib Heydari, Pooriya Peyma and his wife Fatemeh Talebi were arrested in Bushehr in south Iran on 1 July 2019.
You will not have heard these names before, but these Iranian Christians have just been sentenced to prison followed by internal exile because they were meeting together as believers. They have lost their homes and their jobs. Sam and Maryam have also had their 2-year-old daughter taken from them. This scenario is being repeated in many countries where Christians are under pressure, yet they continue to take enormous risks simply to meet together because it is a vital part of their obedience to God.
It makes me so ashamed when I think of the times I have forgotten about pre-prayer or tuned into an online service late (after all, no one can see me!), or have had a casual, take-it-or-leave-it attitude to small group Zoom meetings (especially Harvest Groups).
Numerous passages in Scripture make it clear that God’s building regulations involve a passionate commitment to His church and our fellow believers. We build together in unity, serving and helping each other. (1 Corinthians 3:9; 14:12; Ephesians 4:11-13.)
3. Persevere to the end
Allowing God to be our master builder means that what we build goes on into eternity. (2 Corinthians 5:1; Hebrews 3:6, 14.)
The only safe anchor for our souls – in good times and in bad – is Jesus. A storm-resistant life will have Jesus in first, second and third place, all day, every day, for the short time we are on this earth. Our real home will be in eternity, where God Himself will wipe away our tears as we move into the house He has personally prepared for us in heaven.
‘He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’ (Revelation 21:4)