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"'Why are you so polite with me, always saying, 'Yes, sir,' and 'That's right, sir,' but never doing a thing I tell you? These words I speak to you are not mere additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundation words, words to build a life on.
"'If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who dug deep and laid the foundation of his home on bedrock. When the river burst its banks and crashed against the house, nothing could shake it; it was built to last. But if you use my words in Bible studies and don't work them into your life, you are like a dumb carpenter who built a house but skipped the foundation. When the swollen river came crashing in, it collapsed like a house of cards. It was a total loss.'" Luke 6:46-49 (The Message).
What comes to mind when you read these words?
Jesus was telling His disciples that His words, His, Jesus' words, were absolutely foundational for living. Who did He think He was? Okay, He was a rabbi and He spoke with authority, and people sat up and took notice when He taught; and He taught things radically different from the other rabbis, even though He taught from the same Scriptures as they did.
But did that give Him the right to claim that His words were the foundation of all life? What made Him so different from all the others? And who or what gave Him the authority to make a claim like that?
Nicodemus, a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin, had the courage to challenge Him. 'What makes you so different from the rest of us?' he asked. Jesus' response was surprising. 'Nicodemus, you will never understand nor have a share in these things until you have come alive by the Holy Spirit.'
'What are you talking about?' Nicodemus asked. 'It is impossible for me to go through the whole birth process again,' to which Jesus replied, 'I'm not talking about natural birth. I'm talking about a "birth" brought about by the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that will give you access to the realm of which I am speaking.'
Nicodemus was in this over his head. 'I haven't a clue about what you are saying,' he said. Jesus' reply startled him. 'I know what I'm talking about because I came from that realm. I have first-hand knowledge because I was there. You are a teacher but you don't really know what you teach. I do!'
That's what made all the difference. Jesus came from realm where the Father's will was absolute and was carried out without question. And it was the Father's will that everything worked together in perfect unity and harmony because that is the nature of the Godhead.
Because of human rebellion, everything is chaotic on earth. When we "see" what Jesus was getting at through the Holy Spirit's work of making us alive, and reinstitute the way of life God intended for His children to live, generously, graciously, gently and humbly, caring about others instead of only ourselves; when the storms of life rage, God's peace in our inner being will steady us and keep us trusting in Him until the trouble has passed.
If we live greedy, selfish lives, when trouble hits, we have no foundation and no-one to turn to, least of all God, because we are out of fellowship with Him. We are part of a world system which is continually collapsing because it was not built on the truth.
Jesus' claim to speak foundational words was not only legitimate but also made perfect sense. When we treat others with kindness, God reciprocates with an inner joy and peace that selfishness cannot produce. That's how we were created to be. When we live contrary to whom we really are, our lives fall apart, relationships disintegrated and we live in the environment of unhappiness.
Have you built your house on a strong foundation?
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