“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock…And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.” (Matthew 7:24, 26)
Research indicates that most adults hear between twenty and thirty thousand (20,000-30,000) words every day. This includes TV, radio, and streaming sources, as well as those spoken in conversation and meetings. But studies show that we only retain fifteen to twenty-five percent (15-25%) of what we hear. (1) It’s probably impossible to know how often we put into practice what we have heard, but the percentage is probably low. Of course, there is the possibility that we don’t have to remember what we have heard to consciously act on it, which brings us to the need for wisdom.
We teach our children Jesus’s parable of building on the sand and the rock, and we sing the song about the foolish man and the wise man. But do we take this parable seriously enough for our own spiritual growth? Are we building on the rock, Jesus Christ, or the sand, which is the world? In his commentary on this parable, James Boice wrote, “There are really only two mistakes that a person can make in regard to Christ’s teaching. First: I need no foundation at all; I’ll just drift. Second: to build wrongly upon the foundation.” (2) Both are declared foolish by Jesus, who implied that building is necessary. There is no one in the parable who is not building something. No matter what we think, we are always working out our beliefs and values in our actions, which is either sand (the world’s values) or a rock (God’s Word). Fools are building, acting, deciding, doing, and choosing that which will give way in every storm or trial (James 1:6). Wise believers will continually do that which is by faith in Christ and Scripture and will remain steady, able to bear up to the difficulties and crises of life.
We study God’s Word, but do we build on it? We read and write devotions such as this but do we do anything with the words here? I have journaled for myself for several decades, but I have experienced a new benefit from writing devotions so frequently–I am compelled to live out what I have declared in public on this blog. I also have an accountability group and my church family, who are committed to helping me with my building.
We all require accountability for putting the Word of God into practice. Who helps you as you build? Will you ask God to give you friends who will encourage and strengthen your wisdom to build on Christ, rather than drift and foolishly hope storms won’t come?
(2) James Montgomery Boice, “Expositional Commentary Series, Matthew 7”, Software Version, Baker Books, 1998