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Just as we need a solid foundation in order to build a solid structure, so we need to build a morally pure life on a spiritually solid foundation. The bottom line is simple, if you expect to stay standing in the midst of the storms of sexual temptation that constantly bombard you on every front, you need to be planted firmly on a foundation that will not fail—one that runs deep into solid rock.
Welcome to today’s episode of the Point of Purity Podcast. A weekly study filled to the brim with the all the tools from Scripture you will ever need to build a lasting life of Biblical purity.
I’m your host, Steve Etner, Author, National Speaker, and Purity Coach for The Pure Man Ministry. In today’s episode we will dig into Matthew 7 and talk about building a life of purity upon the solid rock of faith in Christ!
Please listen closely as I read to you Matthew 7:24-27. “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:24-27
If I asked you to describe your house, you probably would tell me such things as its location, its primary colors, its design, square footage, possibly the size of the lot it sits on, and probably even the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. However, most likely you wouldn’t tell me about the foundation. Yet, it is the foundation of your house that makes all the difference.
When a home is being built, it’s wise to start with a foundation. That only makes sense. Right? After all, what happens to the structure if you build upon a weak foundation, or choose not to have one at all? Do you remember the children’s story of the Three Little Pigs? Two of them chose to build their homes out of straw and sticks. Oh, they were wonderful to look at (if you’re a pig that is). They even remained standing for a brief period of time. However, as soon as a strong wind came along – WHAM! Down they went.
Which kind of home would you want to live in: one that is built on a weak foundation, or one built on a strong one? Seems like a silly question. After all, what sane person would want to live in a house built on a poor foundation (that is, unless you’re a little pig trying to hide from the big bad wolf)? Just as a solid foundation is needed in order to build a solid structure, so we need to build our spiritual life on a spiritually solid foundation.
Let’s face it, life can be hard. If you expect to stay standing in the midst of the storms of life that constantly bombard you on every front, you need to be planted firmly on a foundation that will not fail – one that runs deep into solid rock.
Wouldn’t it be the greatest thing ever to live the rest of your life built on a foundation that will never shake, rattle or roll? Wouldn’t you love to live your life secure in the knowledge that absolutely no storm, no matter how intense, could ever destroy you? I know I can’t put words in your mouth, but I’m going to assume your answer is a loud and boisterous “yes!” Am I right?
When you build your life deep into God’s foundation, that life is guaranteed to stand firm at all times. That doesn’t mean you won’t have storms in life (wouldn’t that be nice). However, it does mean that when you build your life upon a growing relationship with God, those storms will never take you down – that is His promise. That is a promise you can take to the bank of Heaven; the safest, most secure bank in the entire universe.
The question then is this: What is the foundation that we should be building our godly lives upon and how do we start building on it?
In 1 Corinthians 3:11 we read, “For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Think about that for a moment. There is only one solid foundation that we are to be building our lives upon. There is only one firm foundation that is guaranteed to keep us safe in the midst of the worst of storms. There is only one unshakable foundation that will hold you up while you are getting slammed with wave after wave after wave of temptation. That foundation is none other than a growing and on-going relationship with Jesus Christ. If that’s not what you’re building on, your construction is happening on shifting sand and that is why you fail.
2 Samuel 22:47 says, “The LORD lives, and blessed by my rock, and exalted be my God, the rock of my salvation.” God alone is the Rock of our salvation. A few verses earlier, in 2 Samuel 22:3 Samuel cries out “my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior.” God is your rock, and as that Rock, He is our fortress, deliverer, shield, and stronghold in whom we take refuge (Psalm 18:1-2). As we live our life on that Rock, He makes each step we take secure (Psalm 40:2).
Psalm 62:2 tells us that a life that is built upon that Rock will never be greatly shaken. And—praise God—that Rock is immovable, unshakable and everlasting (Isaiah 26:4). That means we never, ever have to worry about it crumbling beneath us.
In Matthew 7 (the text I read to you at the beginning of this episode) Jesus makes it clear that we will face storms that will try to shake us up and take us down. No matter how victorious you may be over sexual impurity, you will always encounter strong temptations.
Only when we are building our life into The Rock will we be able to weather the storm!
In Matthew 7 Jesus introduces us to Wally and Martin (names I made up for the sake of this study). Two guys engaged in a significant building project. Two guys that are much the same, yet totally different. You see, Wally is wise man, and Martin is a moron. Now I’m willing to bet that if you pick up your Bible and read Matthew 7:24-27, you will not see the word “moron.” But I assure you – it’s there! The word Christ uses for the “foolish” man comes from the Greek word “moros.” You guessed it, it’s the same as our English word moron. And it means exactly what you would expect the word to mean – one who is stupid, a blockhead, a very foolish man.
So, who are these two guys? What are they building? What makes Wally wise and Martin a moron? Enquiring minds want to know!
The first thing we need to focus on is the magnitude of their building project. They weren’t assembling a really cool treehouse or an ice-fishing shanty or duck blind. They were building a very important structure which Jesus called their “house.” In other words, both of these guys were fully engaged in their life-building project.
This wasn’t a fly-by-night, do it on a whim and slap it together kind of thing. This was an I’m-all-in, do or die project. Their goal wasn’t simply to construct a comfy vacation bungalow somewhere in the Hamptons. They weren’t building something just for themselves. It was to be a heritage for their kids – a legacy that they hoped would last well into the future. They were building their life.
In a few moments we will discover together just what made Martin a moron and Wally wise. But for right now keep in mind that Martin wasn’t just throwing a few sticks together with spit, chewing gum and a ball of twine and saying – voila, there is my life! He wasn’t going through the building process thinking “Oh, this is just a temporary thing. I know a big bad wolf is going to come along someday and he’ll huff, and he’ll puff and when he blows everything, I’ve worked for all my life will come crashing down around me.” He didn’t shrug his shoulders and say, “Eh, no big deal. When it does collapse, I’ll just pick up the pieces of my life and start all over again.” No! He was just as intent on building a life that would leave a lasting legacy as was his counterpart. Both he and Wally were working toward the same goal.
Like it or not, you and I strongly resemble the builders of Matthew 7. Every day, whether we realize it or not, you and I are building into our lives as well. Every day we make decisions that impact our life and affect those around us. Every choice we make today determines the path we are going to go down tomorrow, and the heritage we will leave behind when we are gone.
Most of the time we don't pause long enough to consider the fact that the things we choose to do (or not do) today are literally molding our future and setting a course that will influence the lives of everyone we care about. So not only is this similarity shared between Wally and Martin, but we have at least one thing in common with both of them. We are all life-builders.
The second similarity Wally and Martin shared is this: they both lived in the same neighborhood and probably knew each other. I say that because Jesus said they both encountered the exact same horrific storm that attacked their house (life). Christ said, “the rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house”.
This was no mild mid-summer’s thunderstorm. They didn’t sit out on the back deck with an iced tea in hand and watch the clouds darken while complaining about their lumbago. The storm that ransacked their neighborhood was more like a class-five hurricane with a couple of tornadoes thrown in. That particular storm put untold stress on both of their lives. It bore down on both of them with unbearable force and they were powerless to do anything about it.
Let’s pause long enough here to consider that you and I will also face multiple storms in life – each one intent on destroying us. Sometimes we will get rained on. I’m not talking about droplets of moisture that fall from the sky here – I’m referring to those tiny little situations (dare I say annoyances?) that in and of themselves don’t amount to much, just a pesky drop here and there that we could definitely do without but can tolerate. However, when they start hitting you all at once you find yourself diving for cover. Every so often the rain will fall on your life with a vengeance – how will you hold up under the barrage? The choices and decisions you make today will determine your answer when the storm comes tomorrow.
Sometimes, with the rain comes the flood. I’m talking about those situations in life that seem to swell up on you suddenly and then tend to just sit there, weighing heavily on you, drowning out everything you value. They just sort of take over. You wonder if it will ever end, when will it go away. You feel a damp sadness creep over you, bordering on cold despair as it leaves sludge and destruction in its wake. The floods of life will come my friend; you can count on it. The choices and decisions you make today will determine how you respond when it rises up all around you tomorrow.
And then there is the wind. This isn’t a slight breeze we’re talking about. I’m referring to the times when you get slammed, seemingly out of nowhere. You never saw it coming. This is the major surprise that hits you hard, relentlessly pressing in on you. You stagger back from the blast, barely able to keep your footing. You search for something (or someone) solid to grab hold of because you are unable to anchor yourself. You know that if you don’t find purchase soon, it’s going to blow you far, far away. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about because you’ve experienced these winds before. And you will experience them again. The choices and decisions you make today will determine how solidly you stand against the wind tomorrow.
The fact is life isn’t always sunshine. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are spiritually, the storms will come. In fact, many times you’ll get hit by rain and flooding and winds all at the same time.
How well will your structure (your life) hold up under the storm that's coming? What high-quality materials are you building into your life right now that will enable it to stand when the next storm comes? 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. The only thing we do know is that it will come. We need to prepare now for the inevitable. So not only is this similarity shared between Wally and Martin, but we now share at least two things in common with both of them.
Here’s what we’ve seen so far: Wally and Martin are building their life, and they are facing the same storm intent on taking both of their houses down. A third connection these guys shared is that they both attended the same church. They sat under the same pastor and were exposed to the same sermons’ week after week.
Please understand that in this story Jesus isn’t saying that Wally had a love for hearing the Truth, while Martin felt utter contempt for it. No, Jesus said that both these guys heard the Word of God. Let me repeat that – they both heard God’s Word! Sometimes we forget that part of the story. Both men knew the value of what God had to say. Both men sought it out. Both of these guys listened to what the Lord had to say.
Lest you think, “well they may have heard the word of God, but only Wally was really listening,” let me clarify something. The verb "to hear," as used in this story of the two builders in Matthew 7, indicates that the one doing the hearing is considering every word carefully. In other words, both Wally and Martin gave their full attention to what was being said, and they were thinking about how God’s Truth applies to them.
To drive this point home, let me risk a moment of repetition here. Don’t lose sight of the fact that both of these builders heard God’s Word. Both of them sat on the edge of the pew during the Sunday message. Both of them took notes and gave careful attention to what God had to say about how to do life; and they gave serious thought on how it applied to them. This wasn’t just a wise-man thing to do. Even the other guy across the aisle sat there listening to what God had to say and was actually thinking about what he was hearing. Martin wasn’t a moron – at least not yet.
Have you ever stopped to consider the fact that you too hear God’s Word? You’ve been hearing it as you’ve been working your way through this study. You hear it every Sunday in church, or when you have your devotions or sit in a small group Bible study. Every time you hear God’s Word you have a choice. What are you going to do with what you hear? Think about this carefully because this is a third thing you and I share in common with Wally and Martin.
As thought-provoking as all of this is, it’s not the similarities between these two guys (and us) that are important here. Up to this point, there is very little difference between the two. Up to this point we all share a common bond. However, Jesus makes it clear that there is just one singular difference that we need to focus our attention on. That sole variation is what determines whether you are a wise man or a moron. You see, the fundamental difference between Wally and Martin was the foundation they chose to build upon. Wally chose obedience to God’s Word. Martin did not.
The foolish man of Matthew 7 heard God’s Word, just like the wise man. What made him a moron was that he willfully chose to ignore what God had said. He heard God’s truth, just as you are. He understood God’s promises, just as you do. Yet he didn’t follow through with obedience (how about you?). Maybe he intended on applying God’s principles to his life later on, I don’t know. But James warns us to “not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” Otherwise, you’re a moron.
Martin made the choice to do life on his own. For whatever reason, he decided he only needed God on Sundays and holidays. What choices are you making right now? Think about this: you’ve already been spending time at the construction site. You are already fully engaged in your life-building project. The question then is not whether you are going to be a wise builder; rather, the real question is which builder are you right now? I can’t repeat this enough. You are building your life right now. Is it a godly life? Would God say that as a life-builder you are a wise man or a moron?
If you are not in God’s Word daily, and if you are not applying God’s truth to your life – moment-by-moment living in obedience to what God is teaching you - then I submit that you already are that foolish man. You are a moron. I know that’s strong language, but if you want (truly want) to be godly in your everyday living, it begins now. Not tomorrow, not after you’re done listening to this episode – right here, right now!
This is so important that I want to reiterate the fact that God says a wise man will give his full and immediate attention to what God is saying in His Word. The wise person is always considering carefully what he is reading, and he is seeking to understand how it applies to him. But that alone doesn’t make us wise. Something else is required. According to Jesus, it is nothing short of complete obedience! You have to put what God says into practice in your life.
During his elementary school years, our second child decided he wanted to learn how to play the violin. As most parents do, we jumped on board with the idea, bought him a violin and paid for private lessons. We would take him to his lesson, drop him off for an hour and then pick him back up when the lesson was over. He would then stand in our living room and practice his music. It’s amazing how great a child’s playing can sound when filtered through strategically placed cotton balls!
One time I decided to sit in on his lesson, just to see how things were going. His teacher was a very patient and understanding woman, but I could see she was frustrated with him. I learned that day that the proper way to stroke the bow across the strings is primarily with your shoulder firmly fixed, using your elbow as the pivotal point. My boy was doing just the opposite – keeping the elbow firmly set, he would rock the bow with his shoulder.
Standing behind him, this woman - whom I’ve since nominated for sainthood - patiently squeezed his shoulder, forcing him to use his elbow. I’ll never forget her stopping my son in mid-stroke and asking him, “Practice makes what?” Smiling my boy responded with what he thought was the correct answer. “Perfect!” he exclaimed. “No!” she retorted. “Practice does NOT make perfect. Practice makes permanent – so you must practice right!” I’m not so sure my son learned that valuable lesson (at least as it related to playing the violin), but it definitely had a profound impact upon me.
Now let me repeat a statement I made earlier: To be a wise man, to be a Super Man of God, you have to put what God says into practice in your life – now! But you must also remember that practice does not make perfect. You may not like it, it may not come easy, but you have to live it out, making it real in your daily 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. To be a wise man, you must not only hear what God is saying, but also seek to understand how it applies to you. Then - as the Holy Spirit guides you – you make the necessary adjustments to your daily behavior so that you can consistently live out God’s truth and principles. When you do this, God says you are a wise builder. This is when your godly life will be established upon a solid foundation. Remember, practice makes permanent – so practice right.
When Jesus said that the wise man hears God’s Word and then he puts it into practice, those actions are written in a way that indicates both the hearing and obeying are happening in real time, right now, moment-by-moment, continuously – always in the present. Jesus didn’t say the wise man “has heard” or “will hear” as if it’s something that is done periodically (for example, only on Sundays). What made Wally wise was hearing God’s Word and choosing to put it into practice immediately! The wise man doesn’t wait until he feels like it, he doesn’t hold off until it fits into his schedule or plan. He doesn’t pick and choose which passages of Scripture he likes. He acts upon what God says at that very moment. Every moment of his life.
I find it interesting that Wally didn’t simply set his house on that rock, he dug deep into it! Obedience demands action; it requires effort; it calls for discipline. And sometimes it includes spiritual sweat. Wally wasn’t able to rent a 385 CAT Excavator to dig into the rock. He didn’t have access to a pneumatic jackhammer with alloy steel forgings and a four-bolt backhead design. In fact, he couldn’t even find a simple stick of dynamite. He had just a chisel, a hammer, and sheer brute force.
It takes work to build into the Rock. It requires time and energy, and it costs more. Let’s face it, it’s always easier to take shortcuts in building a home. You save money when you use inferior materials. And for a while, no one may notice the shoddy work. But somewhere along the line, there is a price to be paid.
It also takes less time and energy to maintain a superficial faith. To be honest, who will be able to tell the difference? It’s definitely easier to just show up for church for an hour a week, let the worship leader and the pastor fill you with warm-fuzzies, and then go on your merry “did my spiritual duty for the week” way. It’s less demanding on your day to just open the daily devotional booklet, read the few verses that are there, read the writer’s comments, close it up, and go on with your day feeling content with your “God time”.
The question for you is: Are you doing the Word? Are you, moment-by-moment, day-by-day choosing to do what God says? If you construct your life according to Christ’s building codes, and if you dig deep into solid rock, you will not be disappointed.
If you would like to learn more about today’s study, or if you’re interested in learning more about our ministry, be sure to visit our website to see the multitude of resources we’ve made available to you – you can find our website at ThePurityCoach.com (repeat)
One of those resources I would like to highlight for you here is my book entitled “Extreme Mind Makeover: How to transform sinful thoughts and habits into patterns of life pleasing to God.” This book takes you on a journey through the Bible to examine what God has to say about how your thoughts, words, and actions influence and impact your heart.
Jesus said, “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.” (Matthew 12:33) Your thoughts bear fruit: your behavior. When you train your mind to think godly thoughts, the fruit of your life – the things you do day in and day out – will be godly. On the flip side, when you allow your mind to think sinful, fleshly, ungodly thoughts, the fruit of your life (your daily attitudes and actions) will be ungodly. So, how do I change the way I think? How do I change the things I do? How do I successfully and effectively guard my heart? This book, “Extreme Mind Makeover” takes you into God’s Word to help you answer those questions.
So go to our website, ThePurityCoach.com, and check out our resources page, or go directly to Amazon.com and purchase your copy of “Extreme Mind Makeover” today.
Thank you so much for listening to today’s podcast. If this has ministered to you, if this has blessed you, challenged you, or encouraged you I ask you to do two things. First of all – would you please let your friends know about The Point of Purity Podcast. Help us help men and women across the globe win their war for sexual purity and learn how to live in freedom.
Then second, and this is so important, please take a moment right now to go over to your favorite Podcast Player and rate this podcast? Every time you do, your rating lets them know this podcast is important, it is valuable, and your ratings helps us get this program and this ministry into the ears and hearts of people just like you. So, until next time this is Author, Speaker, and Purity Coach Steve Etner reminding you that if you are going to glorify God in your everyday living, He must first be glorified in your every moment thinking.