“As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.” Luke 6:47-49
Jesus lays out for his disciples the strategy for living a life that is able to endure and withstand regardless of what it is faced with. In the events of this past week for us here in Nova Scotia, and the challenges of the past few months with the present pandemic, we can certainly understand the need to be able to endure and find a firm place for our footing while persevering through this.
When Jesus is addressing his followers, he knew they would face many unknowns in their lives and he was giving them the tools they would need to be able to face those unknowns with a resilience that is hard to come by. He begins by describing the life of one who hears his Word and then puts it into practice. In this, he is wanting them to understand how his Word is the keeping and sustaining power in their lives, but to just hear this Word is not enough, one must practice this Word.
Why practice? You learn to do something better by practicing it. The better you can do it, the more you can draw on what you know by experience and not just in theory when it is needed.
In his address to his followers, Jesus is giving them divine power to overcome in all things. He says, let me tell you what the life is like that hears and practices the Word. They are like a man who dug deep, found the rock and built his life upon that rock. The pressures will beat against that house or that man, but that life will not buckle under the pressure, it will endure.
So, how do we do this? The actual act of hearing his Word and then practicing it will bring about three key elements in a persons life. Jesus says, this man digs deep. He does not scratch the surface and settle for the easy road but is willing to put in the sweat. He is willing to invest himself into going deeper. So, when he hears the Word, he intentionally does what he can to put that Word into practice in his life. He is not ok with just “doing the religious thing.” He is a personal investor into building for his own future. So, he digs deep into Christ. He removes any obstacles that prevent his life from being deeply rooted and firmly planted in Christ.
This man continues to dig until he discovers the rock. He is not looking for any rock. Not surface rocks that can easily be moved by heavy rains or unknown pressures. He is looking for a solid rock, one that he can build his home or his life upon. There is so much life in discovering the rock. After the hard work of digging, there is such a rich reward when the rock is hit. Like a moment of celebration.
Earlier this year, my mother’s well was having some difficulties. I remember the delight when after a day of digging to get a new system in place the men were finally able to put in place what they had been digging for. It was like they struck gold. All the effort, the exhaustion, but oh the joy and the feeling of satisfaction. The hard work of digging led to something great for my mother. It gave her water.
Jesus is the rock we are discovering as we dig deeper into his Word and build our lives upon Truth. So, when Jesus is speaking to his followers, he is wanting them to see how vital it is to practicing his Word, even when weary, even when tired of digging because it is in that place where the rock is truly discovered.
The amazing thing about the Rock, and the life built upon it, is that when the storm comes that life is not shaken by the storm but rather is able to endure and be rock solid through the storm. Jesus’ call to his disciples in this passage is to build a life that would last and endure not one that would be rattled and shaken by brokenness of a fallen and sinful world around them.
He goes on to address the life that would crumble, and it is simply this. The life that hears the Word but does not practice it will have nothing to hold them when the storms rage around them. They will be carried away by the pressure of the storm because they did not dig a life deeply into Christ, they did not discover the Rock in a personal and tangible way, and because of that they are shaken and their life gives way to the crushing of the storm.
When all is said and done, the strategy that is being given to Christ’s followers and to us today is simply this, hearing is not enough, we must do what God’s Word says. In doing so, we will build a life that is deep in Christ, that has discovered He is the Rock that does not move, and that we cannot be shaken by any storm. Why would we ever settle for anything less when such life is available to us.
Pick up your shovel, it is time to dig….there is a Rock waiting to be discovered!