Building on the Sand
Posted on April 14, 2023 by Elizabeth Welte in Freedom Fighters
I love building sand castles. Not just a few molded walls and towers, but ones that take hours and are bigger than most small children. I like building them on the edge of high tide so for just a few minutes they resemble island fortresses protecting us from those who rob us of our dreams. Although I have many great memories building these castles, sand is not the best construction material; within minutes hours of effort can be wiped out by waves of indifference or trampled under by carelessness. Sand is temporary; if you want something to last… build it out of something structurally sound and fundamentally strong… something you can trust, maybe even someone perfect and eternal.
Jesus supplies those who believe one of the most structurally sound promises on which to build their lives. He states, “Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see—these works [people fed, lives healed, the blind see, hope sustained, and the dead walk again]. The person who trusts me [Jesus] will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I am going to the Father, and I am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it. From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it. That’s how the Father will be seen for who He is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, I’ll do.” (John 14:11-14) The key to our ‘doing greater things’ is not our sincerity or dedication; it’s not our labor or religious efforts… No, the key to ‘our doing greater things’ is the conduit of faith we have in ‘the One who is going to the Father.’ (v.12). ‘The risen and ascended Christ will do through those who believe, greater works than He did as the incarnate Christ living among men!’ (Stedman)
It is based on this promise that Paul writes, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13). He told the Galatian believers, “What actually took place [in my life] is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that. Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily” (Gal 2:19-21 MSG).
I have built some impressive sand castles in my life. Many were huge with detailed attributes that were time consuming and brought complements and admiration; but it was still sand and they were wiped away in seconds by waves of selfishness and trampled under by indifference and piety.
You want to know a purpose in life that lasts? You want to know that something you do is important? Then trust in ‘The One who has gone to The Father.’ Jesus, the risen and ascended Christ, has promised to work in and through everyone who believes and asks anything ‘according to His Name’; that is His character and nature of obedience and holiness. When we like jars of clay, humbly allow Him to pour out His Spirit through us; that is His Spirit given us when we believed (Eph 1:13), He will accomplish though our personalities and activities, greater things than He did when He walked the streets of Jerusalem and Galilee.
Anything built on my efforts and pride is established on foundations of sand. It crumbles easily, being washed away with all that is temporary and meaningless. But everything built by faith in Jesus, the Son of God, and in obedience to His Word, is structurally sound and fundamentally strong. It will last forever because He is absolute perfection; infinite, purposeful, filled up with abundant joy, grace, hope, and love. There is no better place to stand then on the solid Rock, who is Jesus the Christ. All other ground is sinking sand!
“Each time God said, for we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. For, My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that ‘the power of Christ can work through me.’ That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer ‘for Christ’. For when I am weak [for His sake], then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
Praying 4 U
Written by David Brown: David Brown is a husband, father, grandfather, Pastor with a Masters of Religious Studies and a Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religions. Dave is the Associate Pastor of Pemberton’s First Baptist Church. He is the author of two devotional books, “From a Chair by the Window.” And “#PrayerWinsThe Day”.
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)