Building on the Rock Meaning
Many are familiar with the parable of Jesus about building on the rock versus the sandy land, but have you looked at it in context? What does building on the rock mean?
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.”
“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” (Matthew 7:24-29 NKJV)
Matthew chapters 5-7 are known as the Sermon on the Mount and are packed full of instructions and lessons. When Jesus begins his parable of the rock and sandy land, he begins with “But everyone who hears these sayings of mine”. What sayings is he referring to? Probably all the lessons he just spent hours teaching the people.
What Does it Mean to Build Your House on the Rock?
So then, if we want to be the wise man and build our house on the rock, what sayings are we to keep? Let’s take a closer look at Matthew chapters 5-7.
As I said before, these chapters are packed full of lessons, but I decided to highlight 10 of them rather than try to capture them all.
- Practice what you preach. “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:19-20)
- Be a peacemaker “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23-24)
- Thoughts can be sins too “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28)
- Love your enemies “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:43-45)
- Humility is important “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.” (Matthew 6:1-4)
- Forgive “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15)
- Keep earthly treasures in their place “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
- Seek first the kingdom of God “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:31-34)
- True faith will ask, seek, and knock “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:7-11)
- Treat others how you want to be treated Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12)
The Wise Man Built His House upon the Rock Lesson
In all honesty, some of these are REALLY hard to swallow! BUT if we are going to be the wise man who built his house upon the rock and endured the storm, we have some lessons to learn. Jesus didn’t way that building on the rock was going to be easy.
- Practice what you preach. Sure, who doesn’t want to look as if we have it all together? I’ve always struggled with the “perfection complex” and it wasn’t until I started to let myself be real that I understood the pressure I was putting on myself was totally unnecessary. I don’t want you to flaunt a sinful lifestyle, but if you aren’t perfect, stop trying to give the illusion that you are. Be real. We all have imperfections we struggle with. Be honest about them.
- Be a peacemaker. This can be hard because, let’s face it, some people are difficult! However, I firmly believe that we are all responsible for our own actions so you have to at least try. Let the little things go. Forgive and move on. Sometimes this means separating yourself from others and sometimes it means biting your tongue. Jesus never said building on the rock was going to be easy.
- Thoughts can be sins too. This one is tricky because thoughts are way harder to control than actions. In these verses, Jesus is speaking about lustful thoughts (an excellent post by His Dearly Loved Daughter about these kinds of thoughts) but it can mean so much more. Do you ever have fights with people in your head? Do you think ill of someone while smiling sweetly to their face? For me, I struggled a lot with trusting God after I lost Rebekah. I would continually think of verses that God appeared to have not stayed true to. It wasn’t until I forced myself to stop this train wreck that I was able to see the promises in His word.
- Love your enemies. There isn’t too much for me to add here. This is a hard one to embrace. To love those that are kind to you is easy. To love those who talk behind your back, physically hurt you, or outright reject you take the kind of love that comes from God himself. This cannot be accomplished through our own power. Only through prayer and submission to Christ can we achieve this kind of love.
- Humility is important. This one made me sigh because humility is something my whole family struggles with. I am a know it all and my kids are the annoying “look at me!” type. Constant gentle reminders to all of us are necessary. We live in a “look at me!” world! From fb to instagram, to large charitable drives to church projects. We all want to be noticed and admired. It’s human nature, I suppose, but we need to learn to surrender it to God and allow Him to make us humble.
- Forgive. I know it’s hard, but you know what? It will destroy you and eat away at your peace if you don’t. Unforgiveness is like a disease, the longer you harbor it, the more damage it does. I have seen unforgiveness ruin marriages, friendships, and family relations. I have seen it make people bitter and angry. You don’t want that, do you? As I said earlier, we are responsible for our own actions. You cannot control the way people treat you, but you can control how you react to it.
- Keep earthly treasures in their place. Whether you are the “keeping up with the Jones’s” type or simply enjoy having nice things, it’s important you keep it in perspective. Does this mean you are not building on the rock if you have nice things? I don’t think so. I believe it is the attachment to our nice things that causes us to sin. Often times money is security for us. Our security should be found in God, not earthly treasures.
- Seek first the kingdom of God. It is so easy to get caught up in the worries of this life. So Very Easy. We need to learn to focus on Christ and trust him in order to combat the worry and anxiety that holds us captive.
- True faith will seek, ask, and knock. I have heard people say, “why pray if God already knows what we need?”. Faith. When we go to God in prayer, we are approaching Him in faith, believing that He hears us. However, don’t stop there. We must continually go before Him in prayer and repeatedly make our petitions known. Sometimes it takes days, weeks, or even years, to receive the answers we need. If we give up too soon, we miss out on the blessings. Strong faith is required to continually pray for the same thing. Jesus mentions childlike faith several times. This is the persistent faith we need.
- Treat others how you want to be treated. This is kinda friendship 101. The very same lesson we keep trying to teach our kids. I imagine you are past hitting someone because they aren’t sharing with you, but what about more subtle actions? Are you saying negative things about people behind their back? (Awesome post about how to handle gossip by Kingdom Bloggers). Are you reaching out to those in need or remaining aloof? Do you meet people halfway or stubbornly insist on your rights? Are you so wrapped up in your life that you can’t see what’s going on in your neighbor’s?
The Lord is my Rock, I will not be Shaken
When I originally began studying this parable, I was learning about controlling my thoughts and surrendering them to Christ. I wrote, “Build your House (or Thoughts) on the Rock” where I explain how I was learning to stop negative thoughts and how that ties into building on the rock.
The more I study it, the more I understand what Jesus was trying to get across. I began thinking about rocks in the Bible and how they are used. King David understood God as a rock, immovable, providing stability and safety. We should too.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; (Psalm 18:2)
Truly my soul silently waits for God; From Him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense;
I shall not be greatly moved. (Psalm 62:1-2)
Building on the Rock
What do you say, friends? Did you notice I skipped some of the harder to understand lessons from the Sermon on the Mount? Maybe we will discuss those next time. Building on the rock is much more than simply believing, otherwise Jesus would have never said, “everyone who hears these sayings of mine and does them“.
Now that we know the meaning of building your house on the rock, which of these 10 lessons convicts your heart? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
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