24 ÂEveryone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 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. 26 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. 27 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.ÂHe tells us quite frankly - listen to me and follow my words, your house will not fall and be swept away by the floods of life. If you listen to me and just walk away; unchanged and not heading what has been said. Well, you are just a foolish man and awaiting an inevitable crash.Matthew 7:24-27 ESV
In life the crash sometimes comes slowly, as leaky lives allow corrosive rains seep into crevices which erode a foundation. A slow trickle of death is sometimes permitted to come into our lives while we are happy, well fed, and chipper, giving no attention to our progress in the faith. This is why we must thank God for the testing of our lives. That it is he that sends the rains, it is he that allows us to see the leaks, and receive the sealing tar of his grace where we need to grow.
2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.It is a fearful thing to pray for a downpour, but it is more fearful to only see the shining of the sun while gaping holes develop in our hearts. So receive the flood when it comes. When the rains do fall, what a great time to look about your life for leaks and paying attention to your soul. For there is nothing of more value.James 1:2 ESV
I find 2 Peter of great help in looking for leaks:
36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?Mark 8:36 ESV
5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.2 Peter 1:5-11 ESV
- To faith there must be added virtue - Do I and do others observe true virtues, godly character in my life?
- To virtue, knowledge - Am I growing in my understanding of God, his world, of truth and the intersection of knowledge of God and all other knowledge?
- To knowledge, self-control - Am I with god's help able to put to death the misdeeds of the body - or to use the old language - Am I mortifying my sin with the help of God? Or do I feed indiscretions little snacks of temptation on a regular basis?
- To self-control, steadfastness - Do I quit easily, or do I stick to commitments I make? Am I willing to allow God to change me over the long haul through his ordained means (prayer, study, meditation, solitude, witnessing, obedience to God)
- To steadfastness, godliness - Is God the ultimate treasure of my life? How about today?
- To godliness, brotherly affection - Do I truly have a kind disposition to others in the family of faith?
- To brotherly affection, love - Is it noticeable to myself and others that I am genuinely concerned for the good of those around me?
It is good to examine ourselves. Not too despair, but to ask God to reveal where we need to grow. So that our lives are fruitful and helpful and strong...so that others might see something of God in us, and when they observe our lives, and sethatht the house does not crash in the storms, we might say: But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain.