In 1992 in Dade County, Florida, a reporter walked up to a man amid the debris and devastation left behind by Hurricane Andrew and asked him why his house was still standing. It had withstood the storm, while all other homes in the way of the hurricane were devastated. How did he manage to escape the severe damage of the hurricane? The man explained how he had built the house himself, according to the Florida state building code. He was told that a house built to that code would withstand a hurricane, so he followed it exactly. His house was built on the right foundation.
There are two foundations on which we can build in life: one that will hold us up, not only in this life but in eternity as well, and one that will not sustain us, but will crumble beneath our feet when hardship rolls into our lives.
It has been said, "Into every life a little rain must fall." Sometimes it is a light drizzle. At other times, it is a major storm. How you react will be an indicator of where you are spiritually, because everyone has a set of values they live by, a set of core beliefs — a foundation, if you will.
It is important to consider what you've built your life on, because one day, those of us who have put our faith in Jesus Christ will stand before God at what is known as the Bema Seat or the Judgment Seat of Christ. We will be judged according to what we did with our lives (1 Corinthians 3:9-14).
Jesus said the one who listens to His words and puts them into practice is like a wise builder. He told the story of two men who built houses that seemed to be the same (Luke 6:46-49). The only difference was in their foundations. You did not know what those foundations were until the storm came. One house collapsed in the storm while the other remained standing. The builder whose house was destroyed had not taken the time to lay a good foundation.
When we built our church sanctuary, we had to spend months laying the slab and putting in the plumbing and electrical. Then we used tilt-up architecture with large, concrete walls that were pulled up overnight. If you drove by, you would see absolutely no progress for the most part. It was all being done underground. Then one day, the walls went up. You may have thought that the building went up overnight. No. It took months to get the foundation laid so we could then erect the walls and have a building.
It is true spiritually as well. It takes time to lay a foundation. It takes time to get your life in order.
It would appear from this story that the foolish builder was in too much of a rush for a foundation. Why build on some slab? Why put in electrical or plumbing? There is a great spot over here on the beach. I will build on the sand. That's what he did. Then the storm came, and it was over. His house crumbled.
Storms will come into every life. When they come into the life of the believer, if you are established in Him, then you will stand the test of time. But many people fall away because they never built on the right foundation.
Maybe they build their relationships with God on emotional experiences. But emotional experiences come and go. Other people build their relationships with God based on what their friends do. But some friends decide they don't want to walk with the Lord anymore. Yet others build their relationships with God on the foundations of people whom God used to get through to them. But even men or women of God will let us down sometimes, because we are all sinners.
If you build your life on the right foundation, you will stand the test of time. The temptations will come, the persecution will come, the trials will come, and you will stand.
When these hard times come, you won't grow weaker, you will get stronger. And, you will be more like Christ because you have built your life on the right foundation.
The story of Johnny Cash’s life and spiritual struggles offers hope to anyone who has had trouble staying on the straight and narrow path—and reminds us that God redeems broken lives and makes them whole again. My new book, Johnny Cash: The Redemption of an American Icon is a fascinating look at a unique and talented musician and follower of Christ!