Do you sometimes feel like a failure?

When I was young I had dreams of what I would be and what I would do. To be honest, I haven’t lived up to my own expectations. I want to be a success in my family, my occupation, and my personal life and ambitions. But how?

Every year in Germany, a sandcastle competition is held. In 2019 a group of international artists worked together to complete a multi-level sandcastle that was recognized by Guinness Book of World Records as the tallest sandcastle ever – at 57.94 feet tall. However, it wasn’t long until rain and weather and people brought the sandcastle down. 

Wouldn’t it be horrible to spend weeks constructing a building that a simple rain storm could tumble in a few minutes. Do you feel like your life is like that? You’re building something special – you hope … but one good storm and it will all come down.

In Luke 6:47-49, Jesus tells us how to build your life so that it will withstand the storms of life. Jesus compares doing God’s Word to building a House on a Rock.

“Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.” (Luke 6:47-49)

What can you build your life on?

ROCK: Build your life on solid rock.

To help us see the value of hearing and doing Jesus’ commands, He compares this to two building projects. One survives a storm and the other does not. What makes the difference in the two construction projects?

  • The Response: One hears and obeys. The other hears and does nothing.
  • The Foundation: The one that hears and obeys is building on a foundation that is solid rock. The one that hears and does nothing is building simply on earth.
  • The Result: The one that hears and obeys is successful in the storm. The one that hears and does nothing collapses in the storm.

To build a successful life you must follow a 3-step process: Come, Hear, Do.

On Oct. 17, 1989, a massive earthquake struck the San Francisco area. Buildings built on solid ground sustained much less damage than those built on shaky ground. The south pier of the Golden Gate Bridge sits directly on top of the San Andreas fault, yet it is one of the safest structures in that area. It was undamaged in that quake because the foundation of the bridge rests on towers at either end embedded in rock underneath the bay. Yet, the double-decker freeway in Oakland–directly across the bay from San Francisco collapsed. It was built on land that had been filled in. It all looked the same until the time of testing.

You need to answer two questions. The first is: What are you building? All of us are building something with out lives. The second is: On what are you building? Is it sand or rock?

SAND: Don’t build your life on shifting sand.

Bible teachers notice the differences in the two houses, but I also want you to notice what is similar in this story. Both hear what to do. Both made an effort to build a house. Both were confident their house would stand. Both were exposed to a test. For years they both looked the same. And then the storm hit…

Why would someone build their house on sand?

  1. It was less work.
  2. They are short-sighted.

Leaning Tower of Pisa

In 1174 the Italian architect Bonnano Pisano began work on what would become his most famous project: A separately standing eight-story bell tower for the Cathedral of the city of Pisa. The tower was to be eight-stories and 185-foot tall. There was just one “little” problem: builders quickly discovered that the soil was much softer than they had anticipated, and the foundation was far too shallow to adequately hold the structure! And sure enough, before long the whole structure had begun to tilt… and it continued to tilt… until finally the architect and the builders realized that nothing could be done to make the Leaning Tower of Pisa straight again. It took 176 years to build the Tower of Pisa and during that time many things were done to try and compensate for the “tilt.” The foundation was shored up; the upper levels were even built at an angle to try to make the top of the tower look straight. Nothing worked. The tower has stood for over 800 years, but it leans 18 feet away from where it should be. One day, experts say, it will fall all because it wasn’t built on the right foundation.

Many Christians think that the foundation of their life is Jesus and that’s good enough. But Jesus isn’t talking about salvation. He’s  talking about what you build your life on – it should be hearing and doing. The Lord’s emphasis is on obedience. It is not enough to hear the Word and call Him “Lord.” We must obey what He commands. Listening without putting it into practice is like building without a good foundation.

Imagine your life is over. You are standing before Jesus and all you have done in your life is in front of you as one big house. It’s beautiful and it’s big. But Jesus warns you, “I’m bringing in a storm”. Everything that was not done because I commanded you will be gone. What will be left of the house you have built?

Ravi Zacharias was holding a lecture at the Ohio State University. As he was being driven to the lecture, they passed the Wexner Art Center. The driver commented, “This is a new art building for the university. It is a fascinating building designed in the post-modernist view of reality. The building has no pattern. Staircases go nowhere. Pillars support nothing. The architect designed the building to reflect [the post-modernist view of] life. It went nowhere and was mindless and senseless. Zacharias said, “I turned to the man describing it and asked, ‘Did they do the same thing with the foundation?'” And the man laughed [and answered]: “You can’t do that with a foundation.”

How is your Foundation? What are you building on – Rock or Sand?