Standing After the Storm

By Francis Frangipane

"If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?" (Ps. 11:3)

Just as there are foundations that are dug and laid for buildings, so there are spiritual foundations upon which we can build a strong and unshakeable spiritual life. But if we compromise the standards of our foundation, to that degree we compromise our ability to stand during life's storms.

I've known many people who could prophesy or pray for the sick or sing beautifully in church, but inwardly their spiritual lives were unstable. As soon as difficulties arose, they fell. Why? Something was missing from their inner spiritual life and they crumbled during the storm.

Jesus put it this way:

"Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built" (Luke 6: 47-48).

The question isn't "if" a storm is coming, but when. Life has a way of going from calm and peaceful to suddenly turning turbulent or adversarial. The only way one's house can stand during these times is if it is well built on a true foundation.

In our Lord's teaching, our "house" represents our spiritual life -- what we are made of inwardly. In building this life, our foundation is the first and most important part of the structure. Everything else we build, whether in ministry or gifting or calling, is built upon the inner, hidden foundation laid by Christ.

The problem is compounded because you can't build your house in a storm. Your house must be built before the storm comes.

Thus, Jesus concluded His warning with these words:

"But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great" (Luke 6:49).

I shudder when I recall the many people -- good people, mind you -- whose house "collapsed" in the storm of temptation or adversity. How true the Savior's words are: "and the ruin of [their] house was great."

Storms Are Coming

As a spiritual father, I am very concerned about the church. In America today it has almost become a joke how dysfunctional we have become. People are proud that their lives are unstructured, as though undisciplined was synonymous with humility. May I speak candidly? I think undisciplined is a form of disobedience.

I'm not saying our salvation depends on our keeping a set of rules and if we fail we lose our salvation. I'm not discussing salvation; I'm talking about spiritual growth. Indeed, Christ's Great Commission to us is that we make converts out of sinners and disciples out of converts. How do we become disciples? By obeying all that Jesus taught (Matt. 28:20 NIV).

You ask, "How can I obey everything Jesus taught?" Frankly, you won't. But you can set your heart toward laying a sure foundation. So set goals and study to show yourself approved. If you stumble, get back up. If you get discouraged, then take courage. The Scripture says that even a righteous man (or woman) falls seven times, but the Lord upholds his hand.

Yes, of course there are times when people need to be loved and healed. I'm not legalistic; I'm realistic.

When I speak of spiritual foundations, I'm talking about old attitudes being excavated from our souls and Christlike attitudes structured. Trusting in ourselves must go; trusting in Christ must be established. Pride must be uprooted; true humility established. Worry, fear and sin must go and prayer must be established.

You see, God calls us to walk as redeemers, patterning our lives after the example of Christ. It is Christ Himself living in us, transforming our hearts, who is the sure and perfect foundation.

The vision of becoming Christlike should be both the focus of leadership and the primary growth pattern of congregations. This has been the Father's purpose from the beginning, and it remains His unchanging goal now at the end of the age (see Gen. 1:26-27 and Rom. 8:28-29).

If we build upon the foundations of Christ, we will certainly be found standing after the storm.