“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me for I am gentle and lowly in heart…….for My yoke is easy and My burden light”  Matthew 11:29,30

“For this people’s heart has become calloused………otherwise they might….understand with their hearts and turn and I would heal them.”  Matthew 13:15

Be hard or be soft?  Judge or forgive?  Mercy or punishment? How much does the character of my dwelling reflect what it is built upon?

First and foremost, Jesus Christ wants us to build and He wants us to build wisely.  Thus Jesus admonishes us to build, to do, to become what has said that we were meant to become.  To not only hear His words, but then act upon them.  In that way, we are laying our foundation on His words which are immovable and everlasting, much like stone is.

Yet if we are not careful, we may misinterpret the solidity of the foundation for the overall hardness of the structure and its occupant(s).  I happened to live in a place where granite was not very deep beneath the soil and as such structures were often built on this stone.  I now live where sand is the predominate sediment on which things are built.  I’ve found an interesting paradox with these two situations.  In most cases, you have to be more flexible, more adaptable with your structure built on stone than on sand.  You see when a big granite boulder or shelf is there, it will take extreme measures to move or modify.  It is much easier to change or adapt the design of the house than it is to change the stone which it is built upon.  Whereas in sand, I can plan virtually any type of structure and move the sand around to accommodate my structure.  Similarly, if I am building my actions to reflect the truth of Christ, I am going to have to adapt to Him.  If I do not care if my actions reflect Him, then I can go any which way I want to building upon the sand of my own desires; to my own destruction.

So now I’m doing the “building” that is I am taking actions; what sort of character are those actions to take?  If my foundation is hard; are my actions to take on those characteristics as well?  What would those hard characteristics look like?  Will I be judgmental?  Will I look to condemn every wrong I think I observe or pronounce a sentence of doom on those I believe to have sinned?  Will I be legalistic?  Will I attempt to use the teachings of Christ as some sort of checklist of do’s and don’ts by which I measure the worthiness of my fellow person?  Will I see mercy and forgiveness as weakness? Will I require punishment for all infractions?  If I do those things I will be in extreme danger of exchanging Jesus as the Rock of my foundation for the stumbling block upon which I am broken?

Think of those to whom scripture has said had a hard heart:  the Pharaoh of Egypt, King of Babylon, those Pharisees who wanted to put away wives with a certificate of divorce, among others.  These are not any examples that would listed among those who faithfully followed Jesus Christ or His and our Heavenly Father.  In fact Jesus warns that it is the calloused heart which keeps one from turning and being healed.

Conversely, Jesus describes the types of acts, the characteristic of a heart that is built on His solid foundation.  These are acts which should not levy a heavy burden.  These are acts of healing, mercy, forgiveness, humility and most importantly love.  We are not meant to create acts that show our power over others, but engage in acts of service and charity to one another.  We are not meant to proclaim or make pronouncements of judgement against each other, but strive to be examples of patience and long suffering.  Based upon the foundation of Jesus Christ, when the world brings tempests against us; these are the actions that will show our strength in times of trouble and our ability to withstand the onslaught and not fall.

Dear sisters and brothers may it be that in constructing the structure of our lives that we build upon the rock of Jesus Christ, a structure of light, a structure of openness, a structure not designed to keep things locked within it but a structure where love and charity abides.  Let the structure that you and I build be a structure not to glorify ourselves but a structure of personal humility with the aim of service and praise to Almighty God.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father we pray prayers of thanksgiving that You have seen fit to provide us with the Foundation of Jesus Christ who is our redeemer upon which to build our lives whose strength will save us from any worldly tempest.  Forgive us when we seek to build our lives based on our own desires and judgments instead of Your teachings.  Provide Your Spirit that we may build lives of love, mercy, charity forgiveness and humility which will show to the world from whom the design of our lives has come and to whom we look to provide us with the building materials for those lives.  That our lives built upon the Rock of Your Son, would be lives of praise to Your Most Holy Name.  We pray in the Name of Jesus Christ.  Amen

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