It may seem obvious that a foundation should be built on bedrock rather than shifting sand, but in a culture where people have decided that truth is subjective, sand seems to be making a comeback as the foundation of choice. Does it matter? What could possibly go wrong? Here’s what Jesus said about it:
“But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” [Uhh that’s really not directed at US, though, right?] “Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock.” (Luke 6:46-48, NIV)
I don’t want to just glide by verse 46. How many of us call Jesus “Lord”, and pray to the Lord, but don’t really DO the things the Lord asks us to do? If what Jesus said was true, apparently he expects our behavior to reflect his LORDSHIP. He doesn’t expect us to give him lip service; he expects us to know his teachings and live by them! How are we doing on that?
In some recent discussions about truth, a couple of folks have dismissed the Bible and told me that it is merely a myth containing some truth, but certainly not THE truth. If I go by what I read on social and mainstream media, this seems to be a common viewpoint. In today’s culture, truth is subjective for every individual. People refer to “my truth”. Our culture now believes you can change reality by simply declaring it to be something else. In today’s world, whether it is politics or journalism or social media, truth is built on shifting sand.
What is truth?
If Truth is relative, it follows that right and wrong are also relative. “What’s true for you is not necessarily true for me.” “You have no authority to tell me what to do. Right and wrong only exist in our own minds!” “I am expressing my truth.” This is not new thinking, by the way. Herodotus, Protagoras, and Plato all discussed it (https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/moral-relativism/). I understand where that thinking ultimately comes from, and why people are embracing it. Relativism seems to have lots of momentum these days.
Because we have individual rights, our culture chafes under any authority. TV commercials tell you to break the rules, not to share, or to color outside the lines. We ignore what law enforcement officials tell us to do. Lying and changing your position used to be considered a deal-breaker when running for President. Today it is pretty much how politicians do business, and there is little public outcry or backlash. Constituencies follow them not because of what is right, and not because they are good, but because of what they promise. We are now living in an America where truth is relative.
The problem is, Relativism opens all kinds of doors. If there is no absolute truth, then all laws become suspect. Yeah there’s a speed limit, but I’d rather drive as fast as I want to. That light was red, but I’m in a hurry. We should legalize weed because it’s no worse than alcohol, and lots of people do it. Criminals are called “courageous” for shooting at police. Even something as seemingly obvious as gender, we are told, is really just a matter of choice. Our moral values are now built on the shifting sand of public opinion. (Or, the shifting sand of individual opinion.)
But according to Jesus, there is a firm foundation to build upon. The teaching of Jesus set a different kind of standard for how we should be accountable and how we should treat one another. This passage highlights that there are two great dangers: One, don’t assume you know Jesus just because you go to church, or because you seem outwardly connected to him. He says we not only need to know what he said, but to live by it.
Second, he says that we should build our values and our goals upon what He taught. We should dig deep and stand firm. If you say you follow Jesus but don’t know everything he said, get busy. He claimed to be “The way, the truth, and the life.” If that statement is true, you owe it to yourself to re-read, revisit, and reapply.
If you don’t know what Jesus actually said, don’t dismiss him. Investigate his teaching for YOURSELF. At some point in your life, when the storms of difficulty break upon you, you will find yourself in need of a firm foundation. When that happens, all the shifting sand in the world won’t do you any good. Dig deep. Build. Stand.
Sand or Stone?
Jesus once described two homes, both built in different places;
Each of them was built upon extremely different bases.
One was built upon the rock, the strongest substance on the block,
And when disaster tried to knock it down it just withstood the shock!
The other, built on softer stuff, foundation made of sandy fluff,
Was never really strong enough and really wasn’t very tough.
The moral here is simple: if you want your house to stand,
Build your house upon the rock, and not on shifting sand.
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