“Prosperity knits a man to the world. He feels that he is finding his place in it, while really it is finding its place in him.”
― C.S. LewisThe Screwtape Letters

Jesus talked about the man who built his house on the sand versus the man who built his house on the rock. He said, “But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.” The sand-based house, of course, fell. (Matthew 7:24-27)

On the other hand, the man who builds his life upon Jesus, and acts upon Jesus’ teachings will be “like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.”

Which is the easier house to build? The sand-based house of course. That is the temptation that tears into our hearts every day. Even as believers we want to lapse back into shoveling sand instead of digging through the root tangles and black soil to reach the rock.

Cheating on an exam is easier than studying, doing your best, and taking what comes. Did you know that the majority of our students headed for medical school cheat because it is “necessary” in order to make it into the best institutions? They see no problem in their actions, because that’s what they had to do in order to get what they wanted.

The cheating spouse might feel a twinge of guilt, but will continue to build his life on sand because it’s what he or she has to do “to be happy.”

How many of us remain silent when one of our group spends some conversation time denigrating faith in “fairytales” (that is, Christianity). Silence is safe. It does not embarrass. It does not bring retribution, but is it building a life on the Rock and his teachings?

Satan’s threats to us–his little, continual, irritating voice aimed our “practical” side–never stop. Perhaps that is why the Holy Spirit chooses to take up residence within us. He is closer than Satan’s minions. They can only dance around on the outside, hoping that we will follow their temptations into building a life on sand; a life that will eventually crumble and let us fall far and hard.

Luther says that the Holy Spirit “calls, gathers and enlightens.” Luther was speaking of coming to faith in Christ as Savior, but to be called by Christ, according to the lives of the apostles, entails more than believing that He has given me faith unto salvation.

According to all that we read in the Gospels, being called also involves living every day. As Jesus pointed out in the the story of the house built on sand and the house built on rock–being called is also about acting on the words of our Lord. The Holy Spirit has direct access to our brains and hearts, if we stop to listen and stop to consider whether we want to be of this world, building on sand, or travelers through this world to our real home.

C.S. Lewis looked at our attitude toward what makes a successful life and found it to be lacking. What is success in your life? is it a big house, fenced in yard, a two-car garage, good job with good pay, great benefits from your company, a prestigious school, lots of friends? Or, is it representing Jesus Christ in every area of your life. Is it living and thinking in ways that you would willingly share with Christ?

One success is built on sand; the other on the Rock of our salvation and our lives.

sue wilson

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