“Lord, lead me to the ones I need. And, to the ones who need me.” – Amy Grant
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes. (Matthew 7:21-29 ESV)
Last week, a friend texted me to say that she had booked a cabin in the Methow Valley for this past weekend but was unable to use it. She wanted to offer it to my family as a gift. A few phonecalls later, I accepted her kind offer, and on Friday, my family loaded up the minivan and headed for the hills.
We spent two nights in a rolling hut, with incredible views of snow-covered mountains by day and a star-splattered sky by night. While we certainly had our share of “Griswold moments,” it was ultimately a really good time for us as a family.
The second night in the cabin, I thought I would entertain our little ones with my own rendition of the story of the Three Little Pigs. In my version, the pigs were named Isaiah, Mena, and Elijah, and the story did not end with the destruction of the Big Bad Wolf, but rather with his conversion. After he failed to blow Isaiah’s well-built house of bricks down, Isaiah took pity on him, inviting him in to share a meal with him and his two siblings. The Wolf, so transformed by his kindness and generosity, changed his ways and repented of his aggression, and a new friendship was forged.
I like my story a lot better than the original.
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As I was telling them this well-known story, I couldn’t help but think of the parallel between the Three Little Pigs and this narrative from scripture. “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock,” Jesus said. “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.”
We are all “little pigs,” building our houses one way or another. We build spiritual houses, relational houses, emotional and physical houses, and wisdom is needed to build each “house” well.
So what is the wisdom that builds well? What are the words of Jesus that the wise builder heeds? “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” In other words, the wise life-builder is the one who doesn’t just claim to love and follow God, “but the one who does the will of the Father.”
So I thought this week we could just reflect on some of the things scripture teaches us about what God’s will is. I’m cherry-picking here, of course, but as I have read and prayed, these are the things that God seems to be leading me to focus on right now. Perhaps that is because they each correlate with the different “houses” we build throughout our lives (spiritual, relational, emotional, and physical).
The Will of God the Father is, in part—
That we look to Jesus Christ and believe in him. “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:40 ESV)
That we do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God. “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8 ESV)
That our bodies are dedicated to God. “God’s will is that your lives are dedicated to him. This means that you stay away from sexual immorality and learn how to control your own body in a pure and respectable way. Don’t be controlled by your sexual urges like the Gentiles who don’t know God.” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, CEB)
That we humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face, and turn away from wickedness. “I desire then that in every place the men (and women, I’m pretty sure, are included in this!) should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling…” (1 Timothy 2:8 ESV); “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. (2 Chronicles 7:13-15 ESV)
As we apply ourselves to these areas of God’s will… as we meditate on what it means to believe in Jesus and put our trust in him, to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God, to dedicate our bodies to God, and to humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face, and turn away from wickedness… we are well on our way to being like wise builders who construct their houses on solid ground. “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.”
May our houses be strong and steady—in every season of the soul.