“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:”
When trying to refurnish a spiritual house, focusing on works is easier than focusing on abiding in Christ. After all, a work is something you can see; when its done, you have produced something tangible. You can say to yourself, “Right here is the result of all of my hard work.” Such is extremely gratifying. Unfortunately, it is prideful.
The true treasures in life are unseen. How can you point to love? Can you show me holiness? Such fruits of the spirit are the goals of Christianity, yet we brush them aside to focus on how much we can accomplish for Christ.
Jesus instructs us to build our houses on a rock. That rock is Christ. When we listen to His teachings, truly internalize their meanings, and strive to live according to them, then we are building a solid house which can withstand the temptations and storms of life.
The Scriptures contain the principles meant to govern your life. Asking which particular principles you should obey is asking whether you need a one-story or two-story house. It depends on your needs. Here is where the Holy Spirit graciously instructs us. Only He knows the plans Jesus has for your life, and so only He knows how to mold the teachings of Scriptures to the uniqueness of your soul. After all, not everyone is a teacher. Not everyone is a preacher, or a mechanic, or a janitor. Some of us are creative, some practical, some emotional, some shy, some bold, and so forth.
Learning and applying the principles meant for you is extremely taxing, yet Jesus clearly warns we must strive for them above works.
“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
Simply attending church will not help us build our spiritual house. Attend church to sit in His presence, learn from Him, and apply His truth and direction in our lives will help us. You see, what we do is not as important as how we do it. Working for Jesus from a sense of obligation is entirely different from striving for Him because you love Him and want to abide in Him wherever He is. You attend church to fellowship with Him. You go to work because that is where is He is waiting for you to use the gifts He has given you. You enjoy your family because God’s presence hovers over your relationships with your spouse and/or children.
Any work, any building, that is not built at His command according to His design is worthless (Psalm 127:1). We might as well be kicking our feet in the dust. This is because Christ wants us, not our works. He wants to clean our spiritual house and remodel it to conform to Himself. He wants us to become the particular characteristic of Himself that He originally designed us to be.
What we do is not as important as who we are. Unfortunately, surrendering who we are to Christ for remodeling is far more uncomfortable and challenging than performing a list of works. Works do not force us to stare ourselves in the mirror to behold just what manner of creatures we are. Works have the convenient satisfaction of producing something tangible. Yet, ultimately, the unseen, unmeasurable identity of who we are in Christ is the most valuable aspect, and I dare say the essence, of a human life. Thus, I challenge you to take the difficult path. Be not tempted by the easy path, thinking that your works will defend you at judgment day, but instead focus on your relationship to Christ and allowing His presence to completely fill and change you.