In a sermon recently we looked at the story of the wise and foolish builder from Matthew 7:24-27 (also Luke 6:47-49). That passage has been special to me ever since my wife had it engraved on the gift she gave to me for our wedding. I have taught this passage many times before, and I’ve always recognized that the storms of life happen to both the wise and the foolish builder. But one thing really stood out to me this time: the abundant, fulfilling life that Jesus promises His followers is not “storm-free”. His promise is that we will withstand the storms if we build on the right foundation. But the storms will come, nonetheless.
One of the implications of this truth relates to something Jesus said to His disciples. “These things I have spoken to you so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NASB). Too often I mistake God’s blessing with a life of ease. And then when my life isn’t easy, I complain to the Lord then focus on the difficulty (storm) rather than the promise of God’s blessing to get through the difficulty. In this world we will have tribulations, whether or not we are walking closely with the Lord. What we need is the peace and courage of Jesus and His victory over the world. And for that, we must build our lives on the right foundation!
So, rolling into 2023, I can say with relative confidence that this coming year will have storms for each one of us. They will vary in intensity, and some will be self-inflicted (obviously, we want to try to minimize those). But some, like the rain, floods, and winds in Jesus’ parable, will be outside of our control, and they will slam against our lives with relentless fury. And I can say with absolute confidence that if our lives are built on the solid rock foundation of obedience to Jesus’ words, then we will survive each storm.
So let it be our theme in 2023 to prove (ourselves) doers of the word, and not just hearers who deceive themselves (James 1:22). Let us both listen to and obey the words of Jesus this coming year and thereby build our lives on the strong foundation. And then our lives will be able to withstand the storms that will surely come our way.
In Christ our living hope,