Jesus said, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock” (Matthew 7:24,25).

If you had to evacuate your home because of rising water following severe storms, imagine how difficult it would be to return and assess the damage: muddy floors, mouldy walls, and worldly possessions headed for a skip. It would be emotionally devastating to observe the physical destruction that the waters caused.

Jesus told a story about building on a location to avoid destruction. He compared a wise builder and a foolish one. The foolish builder built his house on a nice sandy stretch by the water. It was a beautiful place to live, until the storm hit. There was no defense against the rising waters—a complete loss (maybe even a loss of life!). In contrast, there was a wise builder. He built his house in the hills; he spent the extra time and money to firmly position it on solid rock. It was worth it. The building remained high above the flood waters and stood strong against the wind.

Jesus’ short story speaks volumes for our lives. He wants us to think carefully about the foundation on which we build our lives. It needs to be strong when life’s storms strike.  When the company is downsized, we want strength to keep a positive outlook. When conflict loosens family ties, we want tight knots to hold it together. When we’ve really messed up, the guilt must not sweep us away. When bad news comes, there needs to be rock-like endurance to get us through.

There’s much advice today about successfully building our lives: build up a network of reliable family and friends, develop more of a positive attitude, get different forms of insurance for rainy days, and pursue proven avenues of achievement. But in the end, they’re all “sand foundations.” The storms that overwhelm human hearts and hopes are far too violent. We need something stronger to build on.

Jesus tells us to build our lives and futures on the solid rock of his word. It takes some time and effort to build that way, but Jesus says it’s worth it. Hearing of his sacrifice on the cross brings us the lasting peace that we’re forgiven. Hearing that Jesus rose and ascended to rule over all things gives us firm hope in the midst of life’s uncertainties.

Don’t build your life on shifting sand. Build on solid rock. That’s Jesus. His teachings give you the strongest foundation for life. Confidently build your life on him.