Your faith is built on something. And you can’t escape the fact that at some point your faith will be shaken. Like Hurricane Michael that recently wreaked such havoc in Florida and other parts of the southeastern United States, the winds will come and threaten to blow you over. When that happens, how you come through will be largely determined by the foundation of your faith.
Jesus talked about this. If your life is built on a firm foundation, the winds will come and the waters will rise but your house will “not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” (Matthew 7:25) But if your foundation is built on shaky ground, when the winds and water come your house will fall “with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:27)
My youngest grandchild recently learned a song in Sunday school that took me back to my own childhood. You may remember it too. As song goes, “The rains came down and the floods came up.” Will it be said of you, “And the house on the rock stood firm!” Or will it be said of you, “And the house on the sand fell flat!”
In 21st century western culture there are many things that will bring storms against the house of your faith. It’s worth carefully examining your foundation.
Here are a few possible foundations, and how they may withstand the storms.
The Foundation of Your Experience
Absolutely nothing can beat having a personal experience. It’s been said that a man with a reasoned argument will always be at the mercy of a man with an experience. Your own personal relationship with God, how He has dealt with you, saved you, taught you, and given you a purpose is something no one can take away from you.
The man born blind who Jesus healed illustrated this. After receiving his sight, the man was hauled before the religious authorities who tried to get him to accuse Jesus of breaking the law. The man replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” (John 9:25)
We must intentionally remember what God has done for us. That’s an indispensable part of our Christian experience and walk with God.
But experience can be shaken. What happens when things don’t go well, when you get sick and don’t experience a healing, or your finances are gone, or your family or friends betray you or turn their back on you? What happens when your prayers don’t seem to work and you can’t sense God’s presence?
Yes, God is still there. But building your faith on your own experience is not solid enough. Your experience can be shaken, and the enemy will try to do so if he thinks he can gain an advantage. There must be a better way.
The Foundation of the Bible
Now there’s a solid foundation! Right? The Bible is God’s inspired word, everything we need for “faith and practice.” It tells us the truth – about the world, about people, about us, and most importantly about God. It provides guidance for making decisions.
That may seem like the most solid foundation possible for your faith. But think for a moment; what happens if the Bible goes away? Does your faith go away? Does Christianity go away?
I submit that the answer is No. As proof of this, remember the thousands of believers who have not had the Bible. In the first few centuries after Jesus was here thousands of His followers left their former lives and radically followed this new Way. They were willing, sometimes even eager, to be persecuted and brutally murdered for their faith.
And they had no Bible. They had no seminaries, no denominations, no Christian TV or radio, no Bible studies. And yet their faith withstood the most brutal storms.
That’s important for us in the 21st century to remember. Academic scholarship has challenged much of the reliability of the facts in the Old Testament, and even the reliability of the gospels. Let me hasten to add that I fully believe the Bible is God’s word – all of it! My belief in the Bible is stronger than ever. I believe in creation, the flood, the Exodus, Jonah, the virgin birth of Jesus, all His miracles, all of it. But many people have had their faith shaken, and their house crumbled, when facing the intellectual challenges to certain things in the Bible. It’s as if the Bible is a house of 66 cards, pull one card out and the whole house of their Christian faith falls down.
Is there yet another way?
The Foundation of the Risen Christ
What did those early Christian believers hold on to? What allowed many to go to the lions or the stake or their own cross with peace? What was their rallying cry?
It was this: Jesus is Lord!
Jesus is alive! That event changed everything. And that event is also quite defendable historically.
Paul indicated that Christ’s resurrection is the most important foundation for our faith. “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. … And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. (1 Corinthians 15:14-17)
The early believers were overwhelmingly convinced that Jesus was alive, and they were willing to give their own lives for that reality.
What “Jesus is Alive” Means
If Jesus is alive, then Christianity is real. You can take away absolutely everything else except that, and your faith will have a foundation firm enough to withstand any storm.
If Jesus is alive, His promise of heaven is real. If Jesus is alive, His promise to return and remake a New Earth is real. If Jesus is alive, the reality of an eternal judgment is real. If Jesus is alive, His defeat of Satan and evil is real, and you can live in freedom and victory. If Jesus is alive, this life is not all there is, and your decisions about God and eternity have truly everlasting consequences.
Preacher and author Andy Stanley says it this way:
“If you were raised on a version of Christianity that relied on the Bible as the foundation of faith, a version that was eventually dismantled by academia or the realities of life, maybe it’s time for you to change your mind about Jesus. Maybe it’s time for you to consider the version of Christianity that relies on the event of the resurrection of Jesus as its foundation. If you gave up your faith because of something about or in the Bible, maybe you gave up unnecessarily.”
There’s more in his book Irresistible: Reclaiming the New that Jesus Unleashed for the World.
My experience with God is priceless; I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I believe in the Bible as God’s word, all of it. But the foundation of my faith, a foundation that no storm can shake, is in the event of the resurrection of Jesus.
May your faith be founded on that same unshakable foundation.
Jesus is alive!
Your Turn: What has been the foundation of your faith? Has it been shaken? Does thinking of “Jesus is alive” as the foundation of your faith change anything? Leave a comment below.
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- More than your own experience, even more than the Bible, your faith can most firmly be founded on the reality of an event; the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus is alive! Take away everything but that, and your faith will stand. Tweet that.
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