Christian Articles Archive

Level Foundations

by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson

I feel sick! I'm in the midst of building forms in which to pour concrete for the foundation of our new house, and I have the sinking feeling that I'll have to tear out some of the work I did a week and a half ago.

Now you must remember I'm a pastor, not a carpenter. It's the faulty foundations of people's lives I deal with, not with concrete and anchor bolts. But I'm trying to learn. I ask questions. I read.

"Foundations must be square," the books tell me. "Foundations must be level," they insist. "Why," I wonder as I try to recover from my dismay.

I know the answer. Crooked corners make for a crooked house. Floors that aren't level send spilled water careening from one wall to another, rather than remaining in a nice manageable puddle on the kitchen floor.

Yes, I know why the foundation has to be right, but for the moment I prefer to pretend it's okay. It's not an unusual reaction, I've learned, for people to act as if their life foundation isn't so far off, to indulge in a bit of "harmless" self-deception.

But my foundation is too far off to ignore. I know. I finally checked. Though the corners are square (let's hear it for the ancient Pythagorean theorem), a couple of the corner heights are more than an inch different from each other. Way too much, I'm embarrassed to tell you.

"You ought to be ashamed of yourself, Ralph! How could this happen?"

Here's my excuse. I used an old builder's transit that was ever-so-slightly warped and couldn't quite be leveled. I thought it wouldn't matter. After all, it wasn't off too much. I believed this because I wanted to: to pay for another transit would involve too much trouble and expense. "Willing self-deception" is what they call this. "Ignorance" would be too generous. But today I rechecked the foundation heights and today I can't pretend any more.

Foundations are too important to pretend. Foundations affect the integrity of the whole house. Foundations must be checked.

When is the last time you checked the foundations of your life? In a topsy-turvy world, how do you decide what's level, what's true? What people approve of varies from year to year. But is truth really relative? What plumb line do you use? Jesus Christ is God's reference point. On the Day of Judgment, the Bible says, "God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ."

What if you're off? Pretending that things are okay may work for a while--even though time after time you sense God trying to tell you something's wrong. But if you wait until the Day of Judgment to tear out your shoddy work, it will be too late.

Where do you start? You pray this kind of prayer: "Jesus, when I'm honest with myself, I realize that I haven't really let You be in charge of my life. I've done things my way, even though I sensed they were wrong. Please forgive me of my sins. Please help me to start over with you as the Foundation and Leader of my life. I invite You to come into my life and make me the kind of person You want me to be. Amen."

After that, you go where you can recalibrate your inner compass- -to the Bible, to a church, to a pastor.

You may have to tear some things down and start over, but that's better than a crooked foundation and a crooked life. Especially when you know that the Inspection will surely come.

Oh, about my foundation. I've decided to pull some nails tomorrow morning and do it right, before I pour the concrete.

Copyright © 1985-2014, Ralph F. Wilson. <pastor@joyfulheart.com> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.

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