The Bible compares the life of a believer to the construction of a building, or an edifice. For instance, in Jude 20, we read: “building yourselves up on your most holy faith.” 1 Corinthians 3:9 “For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.” Ephesians 2:22 “and in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his spirit.” Acts 20:32 “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.”
Now in the natural order, the first and most important feature of any solid and permanent building is the foundation. The foundation necessarily sets a limit to the weight and height of the building which is to be erected upon it. A weak foundation can only support a small building. A strong foundation can support a large building. There is a fixed relationship between the foundation and the building.
Imagine living in a three-story house. After a few months you notice a crack on the wall of the sitting-room. You shrug it off and assume it’s only a trivial matter. However, as time goes by, the building starts to lean on one side and you live in the second floor. Scary!! Right? It then becomes a serious matter and moving out is the least you can do. Assume you question the landlord and find out that he had initially acquired a license to build a one-story house but because he wanted to make some more money, he went ahead and added another floor. The foundation he laid down was only meant to support a one-story building.
In the same way, so it is with most of us as Christians. We set out with every intention of raising a fine imposing edifice of Christianity in our lives. But alas, before long this fine edifice begins to sink, to sag, and to develop cracks. Sometimes it even collapses completely and leaves nothing but a ruined heap of vows and prayers and good intentions which have gone unfulfilled.
Beneath this mass of ruins lies the reason for the failure lies buried. It was the foundation which was never properly laid, and which was unable to support the fine edifice which it was supposed to erect.
I have been brought up in a Christian family and therefore I grew up knowing what it means to be born-again. I was introduced to God at an early age and the first time I made a conscious decision to give my life to Christ was when I was in class six. Life as a Christian then was smooth till I joined high school and that is when trouble started. I underwent a period of identity crisis, trying to fit in; it was such a critical stage and still remains for everyone. That is when I found it hard to remain a Christian amid pressure from my peers and the physical changes I was undergoing as an adolescent. I ended up living a double life between how my parents knew me and who I really was especially away from their watch. This is because I lived my Christian life trying to please them or so that they could see me as a good kid. It reached a point I was wallowing so much in sin that I told myself I had given up on salvation since however tried I ended back in the slimy pit of sin.
It was not until I had a personal encounter with God last year when I gave my life to Christ and accepted Him as Lord over my life that I found peace and the joy of salvation. The emphasis here is personal, meaning that it is not through your parents or your pastor or any other person or thing. It is unique and direct between you and God. There is no intermediary. Now I look back and I realize that the reason for my weak faith before was because of the foundation I laid. I laid my foundation on my parents. I lived as a Christian so that my parents could see that I was following what they expected of me and that was a very wrong foundation and that’s why with time it failed. However, it is not their fault for they raised me up in godliness which is their responsibility as parents.
What, then, is God’s appointed foundation for the Christian life?
The answer is clearly given by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:11: “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ”. We also read in Isaiah 28:16: “see, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.” Here we see that both the old and new testament alike agree in this vital fact: the true foundation of the Christian life is Jesus Christ Himself-nothing else, and no one else. It is not your parents, not a church, not a denomination, not an ordinance or a ceremony. It is Jesus Christ Himself- and “other foundation can no man lay.” The Lord Jesus Christ, therefore, Himself alone, is the true rock, the rock of ages, in whom there is salvation. The person who builds upon this foundation can say like David: “He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defense; I shall not be moved” (Psalm 62:2).
These days not many Christians are confident about their salvation as the early Christians were. In 2 Timothy 1:12 we see Paul’s personal testimony: “I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.” In John 17:3: “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” This is not merely to know God in a general way through nature or conscience, as Creator or Judge. This is to know God revealed personally in Jesus Christ. Neither is it to know about Jesus Christ, as merely a historical character or a great teacher. It is to know Christ Himself, directly and personally, and God in Him.
In the book “Foundations for Faith” by Derek Prince he writes on how he would conduct meetings in the streets of London, England. At the close of the meetings he would approach those who had been listening and ask them this simple question: Are you a Christian? Many times he would receive these answers “I think so” or “I try to be” or “I hope so” or “I don’t know” Derek Prince goes on to say: “all those who give answers like these betray plainly one fact: their faith is not built upon the one sure foundation of a direct personal knowledge of Jesus Christ.”
Suppose I was to put that same question to you, my friend: “Are you a Christian?” what kind of answer would you be able to give?
May I end by a word of advice from Job 22:21: “Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this prosperity will come to you.”