Will you be a success or failure ?

I remember from my childhood a huge construction site close to my home. I remember going there and  looking into the deep trenches for the foundations upon which huge apartment blocks were subsequently built. The scale of those foundations  has always remained in my memory, as has the thought that they were necessary to provide the sure and safe footing for the new building.

All this was essential. Those buildings were constructed to house entire families of young parents with their children. There could be no room at all for error and possible consequent risk to so many lives.

But there is a serious image here for our own individual welfare.  Do we pay attention to the foundations of our own lives ? Do we stop and consider our own psychological state ? If we do, do we actually do what needs to be done to ensure a solid and secure basis to live our lives ?

Because that is what we are talking about today. The foundation for a successful life depends on us, and it depends on our entire outlook on life.

Have we got it right ? Are we going to get it right ?

In the conclusion to his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ takes up this very analogy in the closing verses of Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 7.

And what he has to say is very sobering and serious. It is also very true and very necessary to heed.

We have to take ourselves in hand. Just letting life go on around us, and reacting like everybody else is a serious mistake with life threatening consequences – threatening to our emotional welfare in this life and disastrous for our welfare in eternity.

Jesus says that we have to do as he has taught. Ignoring him and his teaching is the sure road to disaster, both in this life and in eternity. If we just carry on living according to our self centred instincts, unnecessary problems will arise. Even  worse, we lose our eternal welfare.

In short,  Jesus tells us to watch our attitudes and to get them right. For example,

  • don’t condemn others, but be merciful and understanding

  • don’t give up on God but see him at the centre, as the source, of your life

  • don’t be tempted by false teachers but follow good, Bible based doctrine which teaches the whole counsel of God [Acts 20, verse 27]

We have to consciously build our lives upon the teaching of Jesus Christ – when we do that, his grace and his strength are there to uphold and sustain us. We are secure, spiritually, if not always circumstantially. This is what being a disciple is all about; this is what the process called sanctification is concerned with. Living the life.

Perhaps you can remember other scriptures which tell us this.  If not, look out for them in your reading and hearing of the preached word.

To ignore Jesus teaching or to hear it,  but doing nothing about it, is to go on living according to our fallen, sinful human instincts. That way lies ruin, however much you convince yourself your life is right, just because you attend church or say the right things.

Being obedient to Jesus Christ who bought us by his shed blood on the cross is paramount. It comes before anything else,

  • before my own ambitions and wants

  • before my relationships with friends and family

  • before what the self serving world around me tells me is right to do, contrary to Christ

  • before my own ideas about what God wants me to do

On that last point, let me say this. We can become inordinately obsessed with asking God, What is your will for my life ?

  • where should I go ?

  • whom should I marry ?

  • what job does God want me to do ?

  • am I being called to full time ministry for Christ ?

All sorts of things, except the very thing God does want – HOLINESS OF CHARACTER!

this is the will of God, your sanctification

the apostle Paul told the Thessalonians in his first letter, chapter 4, verse 3. Going places and doing things can be a distraction. God wants to change us – from the inside out. Changing our situation is what we might want; but God wants to change us, in ourselves, to become more like Christ.

And if we are obsessed with changing our circumstances, that just may be a clue to our underlying refusal to change ourselves …

So remember: Be like Jesus and do as Jesus says – and let him sovereignly order your circumstances !

Christian Preacher

By Christianity

The personal icon photograph shows God's creation, the world. It reminds us that God is the Creator of all - the almighty, the all knowing and all present - the one who is most important of all. The one to whom we owe all, and the one to whom we will answer for all. The site's header image of the Bible [King James Authorised Version], a map, a light and a compass represent to us that God's word in the Bible is our spiritual map, illumination and guide through this life. Those who obey his teaching will know his presence and power - Gospel of John, chapter 14, verse 23

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