How to Build a Life that Lasts

Wise people are builders – they build families, businesses, and communities.  And through intelligence & insight, their enterprises are established & endure.  Because of their skilled leadership, the hearts of people are filled with the treasures of wisdom  & the pleasures of spiritual wealth.  
{Proverbs 24:3-4 TPT}

Almost every day I drive down the same little winding, hidden, back road to get home. It's a small blacktop road, two lanes with no stripes.  It makes me feel like I'm in the country & I love all the trees & quaint homes that dot its landscape.  It's a shortcut I discovered a couple of years ago, that leads from almost every place I go, back to my house.  I take it coming home from the grocery store, the gym & church, not to mention nearly all of my errands because they are all in the same vicinity.

Right after I started driving on this road, I noticed that the large cow pasture at one of the curves was being cleared.  The cattle were moved on to a pinned off area on one end of the land & trees were being cut down.  Soon after a bulldozer came in & cleared a spot & then quite a bit of other equipment showed up on the property.  

Wooden forms were put in place to outline a house.  Soil work was done & reinforcing bars were laid.  Pipes stuck up out of the ground to indicate where plumbing would go & a foundation was poured.

Wood was brought in to frame the walls; insulation was placed inside walls, drywall went up & doors & windows went in.  The roof, brick & stucco were installed.  Lots of work, like cabinets, appliances & flooring, went on inside that I couldn’t even see.

Then the outside was painted & landscaping was put in.  Grass, bushes & flowers took days to install.    

It took a lot of people & about 18 months of work to complete that house, but it was stunning.  A gorgeous modern, ranch-style home sprawls across what was once an open field.

The day I drove by & saw children playing ball out in the yard, I smiled.  I know how long it takes & how much stress goes into building a new house.  My husband & I have built 3 of them & I know there are days when it’s overwhelming, days when it’s ugly, days when you wonder why you are putting yourself through the whole ordeal.

Then there are the moments when the sun shines & the children play.  But it never happens overnight.  A house takes months, but a life takes years. 

Our lives are really quite like building a house.  We build, step-by-step, moment-by-moment, but not on physical things like dirt & concrete.  Our lives are created by following Jesus’s ways of "doing" life. Look what Jesus Himself said about the building of our lives… 

“Everyone who hears My teaching & applies it to his life can be compared to a wise man who built his house on an unshakeable foundation.  When the rains fell & the flood came, with fierce winds beating upon his house, it stood firm because of its strong foundation.  But everyone who hears my teaching & does not apply it to his life can be compared to a foolish man who built his house on sand. When it rained & rained & the flood came, with wind & waves beating upon his house, it collapsed & was swept away.”  {Matthew 7:24-27 TPT}

He likened our listening to His words of life & letting them sink deep into our hearts, to a person who built their house on a firm foundation.  When floodwaters came, the house was fine.  But there was another person in this story who built their house right on the sand of the earth, without a proper foundation & when the floods came their house fell over in great ruin.  On the outside, the two houses in Jesus' story look identical.  However, the foundation of each house is the difference. 

Jesus wanted us to understand that we are the houses & He is the foundation.  To build a strong foundation, we must take God's words to us & let them sink deep into our hearts.  If we just make the Bible & the example we are given in Christ be pretty on the outside, we will crash down like the house with no foundation.   This takes years.  It is not a fast process.

There is a battle raging on all sides of us.  The enemy never stops looking for a way to topple our house but armed with the Word of God & a foundation built on the Rock of Christ we can confidently stand strong & tell the enemy that Christ has already overcome. {Colossians 2:14-15}

Here are some things I think we can keep in mind when building our life on the foundation that is Jesus:

We need to lay the foundation first ~ By the time the storm comes, it’s too late to think about weatherproofing our home.  The same is true for our life.  When the storm hits, we will be flooded with emotion that can only be tamed & restrained by a life built on Jesus. We will know we are safe from harm even in the middle of the difficulty. If our foundation is faulty, then everything else built on top of it will be too.  When we meditate on God’s Word & spend time with Him, we will be more stable to handle overwhelming situations in life.  When the reality of flood waters are pressing at the door, the foundation laid in Christ will keep our hearts & minds stable because He has given us a spirit of power & love.  When we build our lives on the Word & lay our foundation on the solid Rock, we will shine like "crystal" against the backdrop of life.  {Matthew 5:142 Timothy 1:7}

We need outside help ~ Just as an actual house cannot be built alone by one person, our lives cannot be built alone.  We are designed to live in a community. Even if our foundation is built on Christ, we often allow what’s on top of the foundation to get worn down or weary.  Whether it's a counselor, friend, pastor or otherwise, seeking wise counsel from someone who will point us to Jesus, is optimal.  We must be completely open & transparent to gain a deeper understanding of how God Himself wants to train & teach us.  Often He desires to use one of His anointed servants to show us the way & be a support network for us.   As Christians, we have to be a people who are willing to deal with real heart issues in community with others.  {1 Corinthians 3:10-15}

We need to consider how much storm damage will cost ~ Doing what is right, living the life that walks the "narrow road," will cost you something day-to-day.  You will often have to make the hard decision to look different than the world but imagine how much it will cost if you don't lay the foundation correctly, build the walls, and follow the steps.  A life of integrity & trust in Jesus isn’t always easy.  It’s often filled with sweat & tears, but it ultimately results in a beautiful home {life}.  The life of integrity is the kind of life that when the difficulty comes, still proclaims the goodness of God & chooses to praise Him in the middle of the storm.  Choosing to follow Jesus is easy, actually living like Him, building on His words every day is challenging.  Take heart; He has promised that He has overcome the world & you can trust Him.  The sacrifice of choosing Him day-to-day is much less than the cost of utter collapse from the weight of trials in life.   {Matthew 7:14, Hebrews 12:2, John 16:33}

How have you built your life thus-far?  Do you need to re-do your foundation or are you built on a solid place that includes Jesus as the base of all you do?   Do you need to bring in some experts to help you build & create a life that looks like Jesus?