In the midst of all the chaos, violence, partisanship, selfishness and crude cruelty in our society God has repeatedly put a verse in my mind. But I struggled with how to apply it – until now. This week God placed an innocuous experience from my life alongside the verse.
It occurred 49 years ago. Barb and I were on our honeymoon, headed from Michigan to Washington D.C. Our car was a Volkswagen Beetle. We had, of course, waxed the car so it would be a clean, bright shiny blue for the special occasion. What a great idea!
Then we placed a car top carrier on the roof to hold our luggage. Another great idea! But two great ideas don’t necessarily equate to a good idea. On the road to D.C. we discovered the carrier was slowly sliding backwards down the sloped roof and was about to slide down over the back window and slide completely off! Our solution?
We stopped and bought some clothesline and anchored the carrier by tying it to the front and back bumpers. While we drew a lot of funny glances along the way, it worked. The carrier held its place because it was firmly fixed, tied to a firm foundation.
This incident pointed to a valuable truth. To be firm, to be secure, to stay grounded in place one must be tied to a sure foundation. I now see why God keeps putting this verse before me. “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:11) God has been waiting for me to catch His mind and Spirit.
On one level, I truly believe that much of the chaos, violence, partisanship, selfishness and crude cruelty in our society would dissipate if more people would build their lives on a firm foundation. Then their actions would at least arise out of something solid and be consistent with their beliefs. We would still have disagreements but the selfish, knee-jerk, follow the crowd, listen to the media mentality would greatly lessen.
But for now I focus on another level. Those of us who believe in and serve Jesus Christ must be sure He – and He alone – is our foundation.
All of our decisions, actions, words and attitudes must flow from Him. Think, act, and speak like Jesus. As I observe life in the Body of Christ it too often saddens me – we react like those with no foundation. Our own thoughts, feelings, emotions, prejudices, likes and dislikes control what we say and how we say it. We, too, fall into the selfish, knee-jerk, follow the crowd, listen to the media mentality. Churches and denominations are torn apart. If we can’t do any better than this, how can we judge ‘all those other people’ out there?
Personally, I know Jesus is the foundation of my life. But I’ve had to admit that there have been times in the midst of our chaotic times that I have untied the ropes and slid backwards. My own thoughts, feelings, emotions, prejudices, likes and dislikes controlled what I said and how I said it. I’m grateful God was persistent and wouldn’t let me get away from this verse. I’ve asked Him to tie the ropes again and hold me to Him. It won’t solve all the issues or overcome all the problems – or even heal all the divisions. But if Christians get back to their foundation it will ratchet down the rhetoric, lessen the emotion, and place Jesus front and center. Then He becomes the focus for all around us. And He can do the solving and healing. Yes – there will be many who don’t want Jesus brought into it. But once He’s front and center, shining brightly through us, they can’t ignore Him. It may not always be easy, but we have a precious promise. The Apostle Paul said it well: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9 — Underlining mine)
What a difference that will make – for me, for you and for all around us.