Todd Stiles   -  

A firm foundation makes all the difference.

This is precisely the point of the parable Jesus told at the end of his sermon on Mount Olivet (Matthew 7:24-27). He described two people: one who built a house on rock, and one who built a house on sand. Interestingly, other than this initial difference, both are described in very similar ways as “hearing these words of mine” (vs. 24, 26), and then seeing how “the rains fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house” (vs. 25, 27). Frankly, the bulk of the parable concerns how they are alike, except for one distinctive element: one built on rock, and one built on sand. One built on a firm foundation, the other didn’t.

A question surfaces: What is the “rock?” What is the firm foundation? What is Jesus communicating in this distinction?

Here’s the answer: The importance of obedience to what he says. In fact, he plainly declares this with two all-important phrases. The first one? “…and does them…” (v24). The second? “…and does not do them…” (v. 26).

You see it, don’t you? Obedience to Jesus’ sayings is the raw material—the “rock”—of a firm foundation for life. Without obedience, you’re merely window-shopping at the hardware store or lumber yard, metaphorically speaking, acting like you’re going to buy the necessary ingredients for your foundation. But if you never actually purchase the right elements, you’ll discover, when the storms come and your house doesn’t last, that intentions are never as strong as action. Obedience makes all the difference.

James echoes this same principle when he declares we should be “doers of the Word, and not hearers only” (James 1:22). And he doubles down on this assertion, warning us that if you think merely hearing lays a good foundation, you’re “deceiving yourself” (v. 22). What an apt description of the person in the parable who built on sand: deceived. Yes, obedience makes all the difference.

Likewise, Jesus affirmed this principle when, in the Great Commission, he commanded his disciples to “make disciples of all nations…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded…” True disciples aren’t content with absorbing information; they are bent on obedience, namely, making other disciples who obey everything Jesus commanded. After all, obedience makes all the difference.

If you desire a life that will endure life’s storms with incredible stability, begin obeying what Jesus has said. Start today taking action on what the Bible commands. Stop debating and begin doing. Obedience is the way to build a life that won’t be torn to shreds by the winds of trials and difficulties. It’s what lays a firm foundation for a life that lasts.

Obedience makes all the difference.

Pastor Todd