As a dad to two young sons, building blocks are a big deal in our house, undoubtedly occupying the position of favored toy. Over the past year, we’ve amassed quite an impressive collection of blocks, of various shapes and sizes- the large, seemingly indestructible cardboard builders; the awesomely, appropriately named plastic Mega Blocks; and most recently, the so-small-and-hard-they-double-as-weapons wooden variety. On most days, all of these varieties are scattered across our boys’ bedroom floor (and usually other floors too!), actively in use.
Without a doubt, almost three year old Jude’s joy in blocks is found in his ability to build the tallest, strongest “castles” he can muster. (For his part, just turned one year old Asa’s expertise is knocking said towers down repeatedly and relentlessly. We’ll get there with him…maybe.) As Jude has grown in this skill, I’ve offered him one piece of essential advice time and again- If you want your “castle” to go high, you have to build on a firm foundation. A wide, solid base is the single most critical aspect of any successful block building effort. Of course, the same is true in actual building as well- apart from a firm, sturdy foundation, any hope of structural integrity is absolutely shot.
Life works in much the same way, doesn’t it? We’re all building our lives on something, and that something determines the strength of our lives. If we choose to build on something that can’t effectively and appropriately bear that weight, especially amidst the inevitable storms of life, then we’ll quickly find everything we are and everything we have crumbling. But if, on the other hand, we found our lives on the only firm foundation we have available to us- the Solid Rock, the Cornerstone, Jesus Christ- we will eventually, ultimately find everything in our lives being impacted by that single choice.
Jesus is not only first in our lives, but also foundational to our lives.
Many people mistakenly believe that they have made Jesus the foundation of their lives, when in reality they have merely made Him “first.” This seems like a subtle difference, but it is anything but. Placing Jesus just “first” puts Him in a compartmentalized “box,” in which we can (self-deceptively) claim that He is the “most important thing to us” while living the vast majority of our everyday lives effectively disconnected from Him, or from who we are in Him. We do our “Jesus thing” on Sunday, and maybe even at a few other times scattered throughout the week- and then we live the rest of our lives as we please. In this arrangement, the way we do relationships, work, money, time, etc is determined and directed not by Him, but by us. We may think we’re building our lives on His foundation, but practically, we’re just building on ourselves, with a bit of a religious flavor added into the mix.
To make Jesus foundational, however, means that we have no life apart from Him, and who we are in Him; there is no area, no aspect of our lives that is not touched or transformed by His influence. Every role, every responsibility, every relationship, every decision is determined and directed by Him, by the outworking of the implications of the Gospel in our lives. The Apostle Paul describes this radically Christ centered life in this way…
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory…Colossians 3:3-4 (ESV)
The bottom line is line- If you are in Christ, then Christ is now your life. He is not merely “number one” in your life, the “most important thing” in your life, or some other expression of priority; He is your life, period, and there is no life to be found apart from Him. And if Christ is your life, then there is nowhere that you don’t “bring Him” with you. To be truly authentic, then, in everyday life, is to allow His transforming work to be seen and shared in everything you are, think, say, and do. In the specific context of relationships, which we’ll explore in depth in this Square One series, it means actually resembling Jesus in the way you relate with others, and having the courage and authenticity to share why.
There is so much more we could say about this- and over the next four weeks, we will say much more. But as we start down this road together today, ask yourself this- On what foundation am I building my life? Have I merely made Jesus “first,” and so attempted to confine Him to the “religious” aspect of my life, or have I rightly opened all that I am and all that I have- including every single relationship- to His transforming work? This is the first step to an authentically impactful life- to building everything on Jesus, our Solid Rock, our Cornerstone.