Firm foundations are important. A faulty one will make the whole building unstable.
One Sunday on the way to church, our son, Andrew, who was 15 at the time, declared, “I’m going to make a tree house today.” When we got home, bounded into the backyard looking for a prime location and we watched him go to work. About dusk, he came inside proudly telling us about the foundation he had built.
When my husband, Ron, went to look, he discovered it was very crooked. A post standing on bare ground help up one side of the foundation. It had already started sinking and the foundation was no longer level or firm. The next day Ron helped Andrew rebuild the foundation so it would be safe. Andrew was not thrilled. He was ready to build the walls. It took a while, but they got the foundation level with a solid platform under the post to keep it from sinking again. Then Andrew put up the walls and roof. Years later, when he went off to college, the foundation of that tree house was still level.
Building A Firm Foundation
Jesus taught a parable on the value of having a good foundation. “I will show you what everyone is like who comes to me and hears my words and obeys. 48 That person is like a man building a house who dug deep and laid the foundation on rock. When the floods came, the water tried to wash the house away, but it could not shake it, because the house was built well. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not obey is like a man who built his house on the ground without a foundation. When the floods came, the house quickly fell and was completely destroyed” (Luke 6: 47-49 NCV).
In the parable, Jesus said the man “dug down deep”. Laying a foundation work requires a lot of hard work! There are also a lot of things to consider. The environmental situation must be assessed. How high is the water table? What are the drainage patterns? What type of soil is present? And the list goes on. You don’t want to pick a location prone to mud or the foundation will not hold the considerable weight of the house. When a building is started, initially we don’t see anything going up. All the work you see is going down. Laying the foundation correctly can be very time-consuming.
When we look at our spiritual foundations, we need to be just as thorough. If we build on a faulty spiritual foundation, it can cause major problems in our lives. I Corinthians 3:11 says, “For no one can lay any other <foundation> than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Jesus Christ is our foundation. 1 Peter 2: 6 says, “See I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone. The one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” Again, the One we trust in, is Jesus. Those who put their faith in the foundation, or cornerstone, of Jesus will never be put to shame.
What does it take to fully put our faith and trust in Jesus? It takes relationship. Paul reminds us in I Thessalonians 5:10, “He died for us so that, whether awake or asleep, we may live together with him” (NIV). God is not waiting until we enter the portals of heaven to have a relationship with us. Jesus died so we can begin a marriage-level relationship with Him now!
The deeper your relationship with Christ, the stronger your foundation. God says, “I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently will find me” (Proverbs 8:17 NKJV). When we seek Him, He captivates us with His love, majesty, goodness, beauty and so much more. The more we know Him, the more we trust Him and are willing to obey Him.
The parable of the house on the rock shows the benefit of making Jesus, our foundation. It also reveals that lip service is not enough. We can know all about Jesus, recite scripture, and say all the right things. But only those to believe enough to obey the words of the Lord have a solid foundation. The Apostle James reiterates this teaching, “faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:17 NIV).
James even gives an example of dead faith in verses 15- 16, “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?’” James is giving an example of to the new command that Jesus taught in John 13:34-35, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” If we know of brothers and sisters in Christ that have urgent needs, and we have the ability to help but do nothing, we are not obeying Jesus’ command to love one another as He has loved us. In that instance, we would have a faulty foundation.
Know God’s Word
Of course, to obey God’s word we must know what He is saying. Reading the Bible is critical for building a firm foundation. The Apostle Paul instructs Timothy, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16 NIV).
If you read the Bible, you undoubtedly have favorite parts that you go to again and again. The Psalms are encouraging. Proverbs gives great advice. The Gospels reveal Jesus and His Kingdom. The historical books are inspiring and offer valuable warnings. The Epistles give insight into practical Christian living. I generally gravitate to those portions of scripture. But Paul says we need “all Scripture” to have a solid footing so I can’t ignore the other parts. And neither can you!
My husband and I are currently reading the book of Job. It is not one I visit often, but there is a lot to learn from Job. For one, it reveals the power and majesty of God in a way no other book does. Just a few snippets of God’s conversation with Job prove my point. “What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside? …Have you entered the storehouses of snow or seen the storehouses of the hail, which I reserve for times of trouble, for days of war and battle? ….Do you have an arm like God’s, and can your voice thunder like his? Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor, and clothe yourself in honor and majesty” (Job 38-41 NIV).
Reading through chapters 38-41 is awe inspiring and reminds me of how great, vast, and powerful God is. It under-girds my confidence that He sees, knows and will intervene in all that concerns me because I trust in Him. It reinforces the foundation of my faith.
Believe God’s Word
While knowing God’s Word is important, believing His Word is what brings transformation. Paul tells the Galatians, “Don’t you know that when you allow even a little lie into your heart, it can permeate your entire belief system?” (Gal. 5:9 TPT). The Galatians believed that they still had to follow the Old Testament Law in order to be saved. That was a lie that caused them to live in bondage and be judgmental of one another instead of walking in love.
Years ago, there was a lot of legalism in the Body of Christ. Playing cards, dancing and myriad other things were viewed as sin. In recent years the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction. A distorted view has taken root that everything is permissible and profitable. Those who buy into this lie, even Christian leaders, cast off restraint and use their freedom in Christ as license for drunkenness, sexual immorality, financial corruption and more. But the Apostle Paul counseled, “You…are called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love” (Gal. 5:1 NIV). Likewise, the Apostle Peter says, “as God’s loving servants, you should live in complete freedom, but never use your freedom as a cover-up for evil” (I Pet. 2:16 TPT). Disregard for these admonitions is evidence of a faulty foundation and an implosion usually follows.
There are other equally damaging lies circulating in Christianity which is why it is so important to know the Word of God first hand!
Do God’s Word
Now we come back to the need to do God’s Word. James teaches,
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do” (James 1:22-25 NIV).
In his second letter to Timothy, Paul explains, “But the firm foundation of God has written upon it these two inscriptions: ‘The Lord God recognizes those who are truly his!’ and, ‘Everyone who worships the name of the Lord Jesus must forsake wickedness!’”(2 Timothy 2:19 TPT)
Hopefully you get the picture, a firm foundation requires knowing, believing and doing God’s Word!
A Family Foundation
Foundations are not just for individuals, they are for families, churches, businesses, nations and every other corporate entity that exists. Let’s see how that works in the context of family.
My parents married for over 60 years ago. They have a firm foundation now, but it did not start that way. Wanting life their own way, they married very young and did not know the Lord. Three kids and ten years later they were on the verge of divorce. In their misery, they heard the Gospel and both embraced the Good News of salvation! In fact, the whole family received Christ.
My parents laid a new foundation for our family, declaring Joshua 24:15b, “as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Building a family on this new foundation worked! They dug deep to lay a good foundation with daily family Bible study, prayer, and sharing stories of how God was working in our family. Both of them wanted to know God and make Him known to us as well. They modeled humility, godliness and obedience to the Word, even when it hurt. In a day too many marriages fail, their marriage has lasted and is a shining example of the goodness of the Lord. It has only been possible because their foundation is Christ.
Inspections Are Important
Even the best foundations must be inspected periodically to make sure they are not damaged. In the natural, shifts in the earth, changing water levels, and other environmental issues can weaken even a good foundation, causing cracks. Likewise, the pressures or blessings of life, disappointments, responsibilities and relationships can all impact our spiritual foundation – strengthening or weakening it. If caught early, cracks in our spiritual foundations are not difficult to fix. But let alone, cracks grow and result in destruction.
The Book of Ezra recounts the return of Israelite exiles to their homeland to rebuild the Temple. One of the first things they did was to re-lay the foundation (Ez. 3:10). King Solomon built the first Temple and he laid a solid foundation. That foundation held the weight of the huge edifice, with gold plated furnishing, thousands upon thousands of worshipers, and the glory of God! Even though the Babylonians destroyed the Temple when Jerusalem fell, the foundation was still there. That foundation experienced God’s glory. It was used for wonderful purposes. But years later, when the people went back to check the foundation, they saw that it needed to be re-laid. They realized that even though it was good enough for the first Temple, time and the elements had weakened it. It needed repairs before it could be used again.
What About Today?
We need to learn this lesson in our own lives and ministry. In some ways, the coronavirus shutdowns were like an exile. A lot of the business, ministry, programs, projects, systems and even relationships we had before COVID have shifted, changed or were destroyed. What worked well before, will not necessarily work now. The spiritual and cultural environments have shifted. Each of us individually, as well as corporately in our families, businesses, ministries, and churches need to re-look at our foundations. We must repair what is damaged: spiritually, relationally and physically. It is not good enough to say that at one time this was a great place; or at one time, this was a good program. We need to go back to the foundation to make sure we are building on that which is solid and true.
When a software application has a security breach, an upgrade is sent out to repair the foundation of the application and close the access point. We need to do the same in our lives.
Examining Our Foundations
We know, of course, that the foundation of Jesus Christ will NEVER crack or erode. But, when we look at our lives and examine our foundations, we must consider whether our faith remains fully grounded on Christ as our foundation. Has our relationship with Him wavered? So, ask yourself, when pressures and challenges come your way, on what do you rely? How do you react? That really gets to the heart of it. If you had a stressful day at work and something challenging is happening in your personal life, do you zone out with a video game or TV show? Do you turn to the Lord and spend time in His presence? What is your foundation?
Sometimes, of course, we just need to shut down and relax. But if we use a coping mechanism to get through life, instead of going to Christ, we have a faulty foundation.
Our Firm Foundation
The Apostle Peter wrote, “Stand firm against <the devil>, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are. In his kindness God called you to His eternal glory by means of Jesus Christ. So, after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation” (I Peter 5:9-10 NLT). God wants us to lean on the foundation of Jesus Christ.
We each need to check our foundation. When pressure comes, it reveals the truth. How do we react in troubled times? Where does our focus go?
If you turn to Jesus, your foundation is firm. But if not, you need some repair work. When a foundation is left unchecked for long in our personal lives, our family, our business or ministry — hard decisions are required. But we must be bold enough and courageous enough to make them. It is not fun, convenient or easy to hold the line and say, “something is not right.” But that is exactly what we must do sometimes.
If you have discovered that your foundation is a little shaky, it is time to make adjustments. Repent for leaning on anything other than Christ. Get back into the Word of God, pray, and obey what the Lord is saying to you. If you seek Him, you will soon sense His presence which brings the peace and security that only Christ, our Firm Foundation, can provide. And as you build your life, family, business, ministry, program etc… they too will be strong.
Father, thank you that our foundation is Christ. Thank You that we can lean on Jesus, always. We will not be shake when storms come because our foundation is on the Rock. Father, reveal to us any cracks in the foundation of our lives and faith. Holy Spirit we give You permission to work in us to repair any faulty foundations You find. Give us a renewed hunger for Your Word and the wisdom to obey it. And Father, I bless everyone reading this article, and ask that You give each of us wisdom and that You would bring glory to Your Son, Jesus, through us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Dr. Jodie Chiricosta is vice president of Somebody Cares America/International. She is teaches and consults on a variety of Christian living and leadership topics and is a host of the podcast Her God Story https://somebodycares.org/hergodstory/which is available on major podcast streaming services.