Thursday, November 7, 2013

Shifty

When I was around the age of thirteen, I attended church youth camp at a place called Ridgecrest.  I was quite excited, as a singing duo I really loved would be providing the worship music.  

I always loved going to camp.  Whether for a weekend retreat or a full week of summer camp I loved the time of hanging with my friends and reconnecting with God.  I am not going to lie.  Camp was also full of girl drama and boys but nonetheless I truly loved getting away to spend some one on one time with God.  It was something I did not know how to recreate once back home and so I longed for the experience at camp.

Back to Ridgecrest.  I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the singing duo however I clearly remember the t-shirt I bought and had them sign.  I remember two distinct things about the shirt.  The first were the words across the front.  It said walk the walk and talk the talk.  I totally got the meaning and loved the idea.  I wanted to leave camp remembering that premise. In my life, I knew one too many “Christians” who talked a lot of church but did not walk what they preached.  I wore that short a lot as my reminder to walk what my mouth preached.  I messed that up a bunch. 

The second thing I remember about that shirt was the verse on the back.  It was Luke 6:46, “So why do you call me Lord, Lord when you do not do what I say?”  What I remember most about that verse was that it confused me.  I did not get it.  Silly now at 38 to think it confused me but it did so I focused on the words found on the front of that t-shirt.

Over the last couple of weeks, my husband and I have spent dinnertime around the table with my kids studying the word. One night I brought up the passage from Luke with them and to my surprise, they each were confused as well.  (Truth be told it made me feel a little bit better about my own confusion at 13.)  It made me a little excited, as I was able to share with them more on this verse.

Not too long ago I was studying the story of the wise and unwise builders in Matthew.  As I was studying this story, I came across a reference that led me back to that verse in Luke that had left me so perplexed many years ago.  As I found the verse and read it, I smiled.  Of course, now, the verse made perfect sense.  Why?  What had changed?  My walk with the Lord has changed.

The change all began with the story of the two builders in Matthew.  I know that story well.  I can still sing the little song we were taught way back in the days of Sunday school.  The story of two different men building two different houses.  One built his house on the sand and the other on rock. For most of my life, I saw that story as being about two different men, a wise man and an unwise man, who believed two different things.  One believed in Jesus while the other did not.  The wise man was the one who chose Jesus while the unwise man was the one who rejected Him.  To me it was really that simple.  Until the day that the Holy Spirit began working in my life and showed me a relationship with Jesus I did not know.

Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the flood-waters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won't collapse because it is built on bedrock.  But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn't obey it is foolish,  like a person who builds a house on sand.  When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house it will collapse with a mighty crash.
Matthew 7:24-27


It all started with digging deeper into my bible and reading the verse in Luke “Why do you call me Lord, Lord…” again.  As I read, it brought about an uncomfortable feeling within me as I realized the significance of what Jesus was saying.  There was such clarity that came from reading the verse again that had brought so much confusion to a 13 year old.   

As I read, I felt like God was speaking directly to me, to religious people (people who claim to be a child of God and say that Jesus is Lord of their life but do not live it).    For many years, I lived as a religious person.  I was part of an extremely legalistic church where I followed the rules and did as I was told.  Jesus was a list of things.  Christianity was a way to behave.  Several years ago, I left that church and found an intimacy with Jesus I had not experienced in my life.  Suddenly the story of the two builders took on a completely new meaning.  I realized that Jesus was not necessarily comparing the differences between believing and unbelieving people but instead He was talking about the differences between religious people who claim to follow Christ and those who know Him personally. 

Dark areas of my faith were becoming clearer to me.  I suddenly realized that Jesus was calling out the people who claimed to follow Him.  His simple question in Luke 6:46 was You call me Lord as if you care about who I am yet you don’t even bother to take the time to really know me or do what I say.  Interesting.  So I took another look at those two builders.  Two builders choosing two different types of foundations for their homes. One chose sand.  I can understand this.  Right on the water.  Better view.  Easier to dig into and probably takes less time to build a home.  The only problem with that sand is the dilemma you face when the tides and storms of life come into play.  What happens when they come?  I think your house may fall.  That is it.  The difference between the two different foundations are rock and sand.   One foundation is solid and sturdy while the other is shaky and weak.

The faith we have in Christ, as kids, is typically that of our parent’s faith.  I have been explaining this to my children.  I have been trying to make them understand that what I teach them will not get them into heaven.  My faith will not give them a magical relationship with Jesus.  My faith is just that, my faith.  My faith and convictions rather become some form of a textbook Jesus to them. They can hear me talk, see me walk and learn all I have to share with them but it becomes only that, knowledge.  That is the way of the foolish builder.  The foolish builder builds his faith only on what he knows about Christ.  His foundation is made up of beliefs that have not been put into practice.  That kind of foundation is unstable.  It is shifting sand that will crumble at the first storm that approaches because it is not built on anything solid. 

At some point in our life, our faith must become our own.  The “faith of our fathers” can no longer be enough and so we choose to experience Him by drawing closer to Him on a personal level.  A yearning deep inside illuminates the emptiness of our superficial faith and the realization that our faith is lacking and needs something more concrete begins.  What is it that is missing?  It is Jesus.  We know who He is and what He has done but we do not “know” Him.  We have not spent any real one on one time with Him. There is no intimacy.  He is not the rock on which the foundation of our faith is built.  So what must we do? We have to dive deep and explore the deep truths of God’s word.  We must get to “know” Jesus on a personal level.  We must become consumed with Him.  That is what the story of the wise builder is about.  Making Jesus the rock solid foundation of our lives.  With Him as our foundation, our “home” becomes stable and strong.  When trials and storms invade our lives, our faith is not shaken because our faith is rooted deep within Him.  We must trust Him completely.  We know His character is true and so we have no reason to fear what is before us because His plan will prevail. In the end, our house is left standing.

But wait, there is more. Being a Christ follower involves commitment.  Once we have discovered a personal relationship with Jesus it does not stop there.  It is no different from any other relationship in our lives.  If we want to develop intimacy and closeness with somebody, we have to spend time with them.  It is the same with Jesus. It requires spending time in His word and meditating on its truths daily because our relationship with Him is a work in progress that grows deeper and deeper every day.  Intimacy with Him is what grounds our beliefs and choices including the very view we have of the world and the truth of just who Jesus is, and what He has accomplished.  It is only as we get to know Him more, that our foundation becomes more solid and we are able to weather whatever storm crosses our path.

The choice we make for the foundation of our faith is important.  Being a wise builder is more than just choosing the rock as our foundation.  It is diving deep into an intimate relationship with the Creator of the Universe and allowing Him complete access to our life.  It is loving Him with all of our heart, soul and strength while trusting Him with all we are and all we have.


I am thankful for a God who holds all things in the palm of His hands. Knowing that I can trust Him in all things because He is sovereign gives me a confidence to know that I can put all my trust in Him when the storms blow my way.  I am even more thankful that Jesus Christ longs to have a personal relationship with me.  He wants to spend time with me and to be the solid rock of my life!  I choose to build my house of the solid rock that is Jesus Christ!