“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash” (Matthew 7:24-27 NIV).
Are you a wise builder or a foolish one? Let’s take a few moments to consider the similarities between these two guys.
- First, we see that they were both fully engaged in a life-building project. We are building our lives as well. Every day we make decisions that determine the path we are going to take in life. The things we choose to do (or not do) today are impacting our tomorrow.
- Second, they both encountered a storm that attacked their structure (life). This was no mild thunderstorm. I’d say it was more like a class-five hurricane with a couple of F5 tornadoes thrown in. We will face multiple storms in life—storms intent on destroying us. How well will your structure (life) hold up under the barrage that’s coming? What are you putting into your life now that will cause it to stand when under attack? We don’t know when the next storm is going to hit, how hard it will hit, how long it will last, or what part of our life it’s going to attack. We need to prepare now.
- Third, note that both men heard the Word of God. The verb “to hear” indicates that the one doing the hearing is giving their full attention to what is being said, thinking about how it applies to them. Both builders considered carefully what God had to say about life. They gave serious thought to how it applied to them. You hear God’s Word every Sunday in church, or when you have devotions or attend a small group Bible study. You hear it, and you have a choice. What are you going to do with what you hear?
What Makes a Man Truly Wise?
It is not, however, the similarities that are important here. What made one man wise and the other foolish? There is just one singular difference that we need to focus our attention on. You see, the wise man didn’t just hear God’s Word: he put it into practice.
The foolish man heard God’s Word, just as you do. He understood God’s promises, just as you do. Yet he didn’t follow through with obedience. James warns us to “not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22).
The foolish man made the choice to do life on his own. What choices are you making right now? You’ve already been building your life. You are already fully engaged in your life-building project. The question is not whether you are going to be a wise builder. Rather, which builder are you right now?
If you are not in God’s Word daily, if you are not applying God’s truth to your life—daily—then you already are that foolish man. If you want to be godly in your every day living, it begins now. Not tomorrow. Now.
This is so important that I want to reiterate the fact that God says a wise man or woman will give their full attention to what God is saying in His Word, considering carefully what they are reading, and seeking to understand how it applies to them. But that alone doesn’t make us wise.
Building a Pure Life
According to Jesus, you have to put what God says into practice in your life. This is not something you do on occasion, not even most of the time—it must become a normal part of your everyday living. The wise man or woman not only hears what God is saying, but is also seeking to understand how it applies to them, and then, as the Holy Spirit guides them, makes the necessary changes to their daily behavior so that they can live out God’s truth and principles.
To build a pure life, hearing God’s Word and putting it into practice must be done right now. Not when we feel like it, not when it fits into our schedule or plan, but at this very moment.
Understand, no one else is capable of performing that action in such a way that you benefit from it. If you want to be a wise builder, you must hear God’s Word and daily put it into practice. I can’t do it for you and you can’t do it for me.
So, when faced with the storms of lust, anger, pride, worry, fear and so on, the only way you are going to be able to stand firm in the faith is if you have already been building a personal relationship with God upon the solid foundation of Scripture.
Steve Etner is a National Men’s Speaker, Author, and Purity Coach with The Pure Man Ministry. His book, Extreme Mind Makeover: How to Transform Sinful Habits into God-Pleasing Patterns of Life, and his conferences, seminars and retreats focus on what God has to say about the way we think and the impact it has on our behavior. Teaching men how to live in moral purity by equipping them with Biblical answers, Steve’s goal is for men to have a re-ignited passion for Jesus and learn how to prepare their minds to successfully overcome their temptations and thus live pure lives for Christ.