24 “Everyone 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.”

Concluding His Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5–7), Jesus ended with the simple illustration of a house built upon a solid foundation. A man with good sense would build his house on solid ground. He would be aware that the most important element in building any structure is the foundation. Without a strong foundation, any structure is liable to collapse. While the foundation is key, we spend a lifetime building upon that foundation to bring glory to God.

Both builders had heard the words of Jesus, but what they did with them was very different. One builder acted on Jesus’ teachings, basing his life on a solid foundation that would not collapse. The other man did not live by Jesus’ words. Of course, Jesus was not talking about actual houses, but lives. Every life needs an adequate, firm foundation that will not fail—a foundation rooted in Him and His truth. Each person spends a lifetime building on that foundation. Works that are not rooted in a genuine, saving faith will not help a person in this life or the next.

To hear and then ignore God’s words is foolish indeed. Some people who go through life without building their lives on Christ’s teachings seem to get along okay. They put hope in other things, but the storms of life will reveal they didn’t build on the right foundation. People who place their trust in Christ, however, will build upon the foundation of Him and His Word. In so doing, they will not waver in their faith but will continuously grow in spiritual maturity.

• Jesus lists only two outcomes in this parable. Why is there no middle ground?

• What disciplines best help you maintain a strong, firm foundation in your relationship with Jesus?

• Thank God for the firm foundation of Jesus. Ask Him to show you ways can continue to build your foundation on His rock and not on the sand so that when the storms of life take you by surprise, you would have the disciplines built into your life to be able to withstand whatever comes your way.