The other morning, as I shuffled out into the kitchen to make my breakfast, my husband called to me, “Hey! You have to come watch this with me.”
I peered over his shoulder and saw a picture of the Oregon State University football stadium. Nothing was happening. The camera was focused on an area of seating. No fans. No music. Just empty seats. So far, the video wasn’t very exciting.
Uncertain of my husband’s sanity I asked, “What are we watching?”
“The imploding of the seating on the west side of the stadium.”
“Oh! That does sound exciting. Let’s get the boys up and have them watch, too.”
So my husband, two older boys, and I sat and stared at the computer screen for 15 minutes waiting for the exciting moment, when the athletic director would push the magic button, and the whole structure would come crashing down.
At around 8am that morning, he finally pushed the button. Immediately we saw a flash of light cut through the bottom row of bleachers, the foundation of the structure. In 3 seconds, it all toppled over. In 3 seconds, a structure that held thousands of people every football season, was just a pile of rubble. All because they took the foundation right out from underneath it.
While it was fun to watch the destruction of such a massive structure, it was also disconcerting that it was so easy to bring it down. Just take out the foundation and everything comes crashing down. A good foundation is essential. Without it, nothing can stand.
Jesus talks about the importance of a solid foundation in Matthew 7:24-27. In this parable, the wise man built his house upon the rock and when the storm hit, his house stayed firm. The foolish man built his house upon the sand and when the storm hit, his house went SPLAT.
This Scripture got me thinking about the importance of having a strong foundation in my life. Recently, I’ve come to realize that I have been the foolish man a lot. I work really hard to balance all the things I think I should do, but wind up basing my actions on everyone else’s expectations of me. Then, all it takes is one criticism, one imperfection in my work, and my world comes crashing down, leaving me too fragile to overcome even the smallest obstacles. Then I begin to doubt my self-worth, wondering why I fall apart so easily. Could it be from building my identity on the shifting sand of what I want everyone else to think of me or on what I think I should be?
No one wants a fragile foundation, so what does a good foundation look like? What will stand the test of time and the storms of life?
We need to be constantly reminded of who God is and who we are in him. That’s exactly what Paul does when he writes his letter to the Ephesians. Paul starts out his book, reminding the Ephesians of what they gained when they chose to follow Christ. They were chosen by God. They were adopted into his family. They were redeemed, forgiven, and most importantly, loved. (Eph 1:3-14). Ephesus was a center of trade, and home to the temple of Artemis. Since they were surrounded by pagan culture, they needed to maintain a strong foundation to be able to stand up to the pressures of the world around them. They needed to remember the great lengths that God went to, to show His love for them. Paul reminded them who they are in Christ, and that they needed to stand firm in that reality.
Knowing who they are in Christ was only part of the puzzle. Paul also knew the Ephesians needed a firm understanding of who God is. In Ephesians 1:15-23 Paul prays for them. “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.” When you know God, like “deep in your heart” know, the hope he has planned for you, your rich inheritance, and the incomparably great power that lives within you, then you will have a firm foundation that Satan cannot destroy. When the storms of life hit, you will survive. You will have the power to be strong.
How can you and I build this kind of strong foundation in Christ? Here are three practical ways that have helped me:
1) Spend intentional time with God
To know God better, we have to spend time with him. I know this sounds cliché, but it is true. You can’t get to know someone without spending time with them. You can’t trust that God’s promises are true if you don’t know what his promises are and how he has fulfilled them in His word. Make it a priority to build an indestructible foundation by spending time with God in His word, and choosing to take that wisdom and apply it in your everyday life.
2) Statements of affirmation
As you read through God’s word, find Scripture verses that encourage you. Then take those Scriptures and change them into personal, affirmative statements. For instance, when I am getting in my head and feeling down on myself, I recite that “I am worthy and valuable because I was not redeemed with money, but I was bought with the precious blood of Jesus.” (1 Peter 1:18-21). This statement of affirmation reminds me that I am loved enough for someone to die for me, even though I didn’t deserve the sacrifice.
3) Memorization of Scripture
This is similar to the statements of affirmation, except you memorize Scripture word for word. One of my favorite passages of Scripture is Psalm 27:13. It says, “I am confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” When feeling overwhelmed, I recite this verse to myself. Rather than continue in the emotional storm, this verse is a reminder to stop, take a breath, and see how the Lord is working in the situation.
These are a few of the building blocks for a firm foundation in Christ. They remind us of God’s truth, give us strength when we are weak and help bolster our faith.
In this new year, there are still many things that are uncertain, but God is the solid rock upon which we build our life. I hope that you will take the time to intentionally build a firm and solid foundation in Jesus, so that whatever 2022 brings, you will be able to stand firm in the unfailing love and confidence God provides.