Monday, November 05, 2007

Christianity as Crisis Manangement, or Christianity as House Building

I said it in the last post, but I'm going to say it again:
Our dire need, our urgent and terrifying problem, is the absence of righteousness in our very fiber. Our own, and in everyone else's.
Sometimes it seems to me that we Christians are led on by our own professional teachers to think of the Christian life as, primarily, all about having our fears and anxieties relieved. And yet, my reading of the New Testament tells me that the Christian life is, primarily, all about following Jesus, both in tranquil seasons and through the inevitable storms. The one great question on our lips should be, "Where to now, Savior?"

This morning I meditated a little on Matthew 7:24-27. These are the last words of Jesus' "sermon on the mount:"
Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.
By "these words of mine" Jesus meant his entire sermon, which focuses a good deal on the rather daunting subject of holy living. Great is the fall of any house, any life, built on the shifting sand of the world's brand of righteousness. And it makes me wonder, what kind of ground have I been building on? The thing is--and this is just a little scary to comtemplate--only the storm will tell.

That's what I've got to say today. Christianity as crisis-management, crying out to God when all hell breaks lose, is one thing. But the long labor of building one's house "on the rock" of Christ's righteousness is another.

We build our houses in seasons of relative calm. We have the choice of digging down to bedrock, pouring a solid foundation, or building quickly on sand. To the casual eye there may be no apparent difference. A foundation, after all, is mostly underground, out of sight. On the other hand, the house of the man who builds on sand may in many ways be the lovelier and more sumptuous of the two, since he was able to pour his resources into "appearances" rather than into solid foundations.

But it doesn't matter. Only the storm will tell whether the house is on rock or on shifting sand. You know the storm I'm talking about: the storm of life, the one that no man or woman eludes.

Pardon me, sermons about crying out to God in the midst of the storm are all well and good, but where are the sermons about digging down to solid rock and laying firm foundations? This is the great need of the body of Christ in our time.


Anonymous said...

interesting post.

Milton Stanley said...

Amen, amen, and amen. As I preacher, I sometimes get pressure to preach "relevant" sermons about practical,life issues. I respond that having a deep-heart knowledge of God's holiness, love and grace is as practical as you can get. Peace, and preach on, brother!