What life are you building?
A new beginning needs a strong foundation to build on. Firm convictions will cause one to be decisive in choosing the right paths in life. We are motivated by what we aspire to become. Strong principles and values make up the framework of who we want to become. It’s imperative that we become forward-looking and intentional to get the best outcome. When we decide to make something of our lives, we have to be deliberate to cultivate enduring attributes. As believers in The LORD Jesus Christ, the life we build on Him has an eternal significance. Every waking moment, we are being renewed to be more like Him, built on Him, Who is the foundation of truth, life, wisdom and grace.
119 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. 16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that The Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are (1 Corinthians 3).
Life built on Christ involves expending our time and effort in getting it right. We are not to do anything apart from what He requires—according to His Word and in concert with Him. The work is what we decide to do with the lives that are now built on Christ, our strong foundation. The material is what we are willing to give to achieve growth in Christ. Some may want to reach others with the Gospel, others may want to give to the poor and those in need, visit the sick, and be willing to give up their time and resources for their loved ones. God isn’t impressed with what we are willing to give as He is the motive behind it. Building with gold is being lavish, but the motive should be tested to see if it’s for God’s Glory or for our own glory. Our work requires a determination to build for His Purpose. Some build with extravagance, while others will use the little means they have to love God and others. Every building block has a motive—the intended reward. Work has to first begin internally. We must allow the work of His Spirit to change our thinking and our desires. As a new creation in Christ, we submit to the work of Spirit to make us according to His Own Plans. As the temple of The Holy Spirit, we are being built to accommodate God and others within us.
16 Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in The Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him (Colossians 3).
We express who we have become by how we live. Godliness doesn’t depend on material things. So whether we build with gold or hay—with the material blessing we live by, we can be effective with little or much; but God must be Glorified. With any service to God, we have to be careful not to do anything for accolades. Whatever we do in our relationships and our daily routine, should be done in The LORD. We represent Him in all our dealings. We are no longer living for ourselves. Christ is our foundation and life, therefore we must conduct ourselves in a manner befitting His Honor. If we acknowledge this we would be diligent to uphold high standards of living.
19 “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) .
As we heed to His Word and act accordingly, we manifest His Character and build our relationships with others. We can become more grateful for most situations we find ourselves in, because we see ourselves as an expression of Who He is. In the ebb and flow of life’s challenges, His reputation is always on the line. Since we set our sights on doing all things in Him, we don’t lean on our abilities but His. We are thankful for the things unseen: the treasures laid up for us in Heaven. We should not be demoralized because of what we lose here on Earth; our gains are made where treasures are eternal. Our zeal should be in building an inheritance that will never fade away.
16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ 18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” ’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! Tonight your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ 21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God (Luke 12).”
Our labor for the things of this world should not be in vain. We prosper in life by taking opportunities and achieving set goals. It’s vital that we consider the outcome of the things we spend our efforts trying to achieve. The rich man saw the fruit of all his labor and had every right to rejoice. He did well for himself and thought he was set for life. This sounded like a well-deserved reward, after all he toiled for it. The man didn’t consider the ground that yielded, as God’s provision for his success. All the elements that worked precisely to give him his harvest were not of his own doing. He became his own source, with no show of gratitude for God’s providence. He laid up treasure for himself and was willing to fritter it away on himself, with no thought for others. The rich man found the opportunity to be at ease and be merry. It seems like he spent himself in his labor, building bigger barns to accommodate his wealth, and had not fully enjoyed life, until he had more than he needed.
17 I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently will find me. 18 Riches and honor are with me; enduring riches and righteousness. 19 My fruit is better than gold, yes, than fine gold, and my revenue is better than choice silver (Proverbs 8).
Blessings are God’s reward for the work of our hands; they come in many ways including peace, rest, righteousness and joy. We should give back to God as generously as He gives to us. Our success is built on what God has already furnished for us, by His Wisdom. God gives us the wisdom to acquire what the world can’t give us. God’s Wisdom, applied by our obedience to His Word will earn us more than fleeting material wealth.
10 For all can see that the wise die, that the foolish and the senseless also perish, leaving their wealth to others. 11 Their tombs will remain their houses forever, their dwellings for endless generations, though they had named lands after themselves. 12 People, despite their wealth, do not endure; they are like the beasts that perish.13 This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings (Psalm 49).
This life is not a guarantee, but the investment we put in for God’s Glory will pay dividends beyond this life. When our soul is required of us, we will leave what we have spent years and resources building to others; they will reap from the sweat of our brow. We must therefore learn to build true riches with humility and thanksgiving.
25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature (Matthew 6)?
Unlike the rich man, the birds don’t worry about gathering in their barns for the future. The LORD tells us not to worry about building for tomorrow, when we have enough for today. God knows what we need, just as He knows what the birds need. I have yet to see birds in a food crisis, falling off from the sky malnourished. Are we not more valuable than them? When we worry about basic necessities, we are not depending on God. Life built on Christ is dependent on Him to sustain it. Our work is what we do with the abilities God has endowed us with. Our occupation meets our needs and those of others, as a service to God. It’s where we work alongside the guidance and wisdom of The Holy Spirit to be useful to others. So, if for some reason we are laid off, we look to God to meet our basic needs, while we trust Him to open another door to work alongside Him.
But it so happened, when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, that he was furious and very indignant, and mocked the Jews.
13 Therefore I positioned men behind the lower parts of the wall, at the openings; and I set the people according to their families, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. 14 And I looked, and arose and said to the nobles, to the leaders, and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.” 15 And it happened, when our enemies heard that it was known to us, and that God had brought their plot to nothing, that all of us returned to the wall, everyone to his work (Nehemiah 4:1, 13-15).
Nehemiah and some of the Jews had set their sight on rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem that was destroyed by the Babylonian invasion. Word spread about their intentions and their enemies were furious in opposition. This is what happens when we decide to turn our lives around; when we embark on rebuilding areas of our lives that are desolate, opposition ensues. People don’t think we have the ability or fortitude to do better or to make a fresh start. We must not pay attention to naysayers that pours cold water on our hopes. We should remember The LORD will fight for us and carry us through, to complete what He has begun. God went before Nehemiah and the people because they were determined to do the work. Opposition will always be there, even against the good we are trying to achieve. We must get back to building and trust God to do the rest.
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us. And let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12).
He is Faithful to complete His desire for us. We are building on a solid foundation that can’t be shaken by criticism or threats. We have to get back to building our lives, our loved ones depend on us and we should fight to the death for the betterment of ourselves. Our hope is built on Christ and He will not fail us. Christ has set us an example, to endure all forms of affliction and complete what we have set out to do. We look to what we will become as our hope and joy in trying times.
15 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. 16 For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My Name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually (2 Chronicles 7).
The LORD will be receptive to our prayers and turn His attention to us, because He has chosen us and sanctified us, and His Name will be in us forever. We are the dwelling place of The Presence of God, being built into the likeness of Christ. Everything that pertains to us; our roles, careers, talents, personalities, resources and relationships are building blocks to make us complete and acceptable in Christ.
19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God; 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in Whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in The Lord, 22 in Whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit (Ephesians 2).