Have you ever experienced life’s floods? They sometimes come when you least expect it and wash everything away in torrents of pressure and stress. It is like everything in life suddenly decided to stand up and have a go at you.
I have certainly experienced this in my life. Everything is going along fine but then I wake up one day to discover everything decimated by life’s floods. The tumultuous flood of life’s problems were a stream before, but overnight they rose up to become a mighty river. Life’s floods come and destroys everything around and drowns me in a sea of emotions and confusion. But amidst the destruction I question, why was I not able to stand against these pressures that came against me?
All of us have had times like this. Things turn from bad to worse as everything goes wrong and we feel we have no control over our situation.
I thought, there must be something I can do? I cannot allow myself to be battered from pillar to post like this at the whim of my circumstances! Then one day I read Luke 6.46-49. And within it I In it Jesus said,
“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”
Life’s floods will come
We must realise that the life’s floods will come against us. Jesus did not say “if,” he said “when.” We can define these floods as anything in life that causes us to struggle. Whether it is finances, fear of the future, unemployment worries, or anything else. I do not need to give a long list because we have all experienced them in our lives. Life’s floods will come. But Jesus tells us how to prepare for them so they do not wash us away when they arrive.
Do Jesus’ teachings
The first thing he tells us to do is to build our house, which represents our lives, upon the rock. But what is the rock? Previously in the chapter Jesus spoke in depth about how to behave in the world. The passage we read was the conclusion of that. So within the context of the chapter the rock that Jesus is referring to is the rock of his instruction. We must build our lives on his word. But the only way to build upon it is by listening and doing the things he instructs us to do. Which is why he says, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but don’t do what I say?”
It is by listening and doing Jesus’ instructions that we build upon the rock and will be able to stand against life’s floods. However, this implies that the reason our life previously got washed away was because we had not been following Jesus’ instruction and thereby not building on the rock. In this situation we will have listened to Jesus’ teachings but not doing them. So we have to check ourselves to make sure that we are hearers and doers of his word.
What are Jesus’ teachings?
But what do Jesus’ teachings look like? The passage we read was Jesus’ conclusion to a teaching series in chapter 6. So it would be wise for us to read over it and search our hearts to see what parts of Jesus’ teachings we are or are not implementing. It can sometimes be disheartening to do this. Lord knows it was for me. But we have to dig deep to reach the rock and what we have often to dig up is our inadequacies and apathy in our Christian walk. The following will discuss some issues that most of us will need to dig through to make our lives flood proof.
1. Love your enemies
Generally Jesus speaks about three things before coming to the conclusion of his teaching about building on the rock. The first thing he spoke about was loving our enemies, which culminated in him saying,
“as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.”
With this Jesus is not saying, “Do good deeds for others so they will return the favour,” or “Think of what you like, and then do that for others.” Instead he is calling us to act with love toward others regardless of their response. This means listening, serving, and caring about how others feel. Therefore Jesus summarizes by saying,
“love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.”
This shows us that the essence of our Christian life is our relationships with others.
2. Do not judge others
The second thing Jesus spoke about was judging others. We must recognise that the measure we use to judge others will be the measure we are judged by. Simply put, this suggests that God responds to us in the same way we treat others. In relation to this, when a person falls we are not to hold judgment against them in such a way that ministry and reconciliation becomes impossible. We should not gloat over another’s sin or take pleasure in pointing it out. Instead we should have an attitude of encouragement and help the sinner find a way back to spiritual health, even if they sinned against us. As disciples we are to bear good news, not bear grudges.
3. Produce good fruit
The third thing Jesus spoke about is that a tree is known by its fruit. Therefore we should have good character because the result of our relationship with God is the production of good fruit. When we look at trees in nature it is clear that the fruit reveals the nature of the root. Apple trees do not produce peaches. Bad trees do not produce good fruit, nor do good trees produce bad fruit.
We need to also remember that fruit takes time to produce. This means that we should not look at one particular instance in a person’s life, judge them, and assume we know where their roots are planted. Instead we should look at their life over a period of production. We must understand that out heart determines the product of our lives, which corresponds to our speech, thoughts, and behaviour. Jesus specifies this by linking the heart and fruit together. In so doing he ties together a person’s motive and behaviour.
It is all about faithfulness
In summary the issue at hand is about faithfulness. This is why Jesus asked the question,
“Why do you call me, `Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”
It is important for us to humble ourselves and be brutally honest at this point. We must consider this question as if he was asking us it personally. This is the only way forward because two things happen when we carry out Jesus’ instructions that will enable us to stand against the floods of life. The first is, that we learn how to handle the pressures differently when the flood does come. Secondly, we realise that a lot of the things we go through in life are repercussions of our own actions. Therefore if we carry out Jesus’ teachings a lot of the floods that come against us will not any longer because we will handle things differently and will not bear the repercussions of our actions.
Let me urge you to make some practical headway into digging down deep and building your house upon the rock of Jesus’ teachings. We must walk deliberately each day in a way worthy of the Lord and follow his instructions. Like the passage we discussed today we must be hearers of the word and doers.