“How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!”
Every child knows the key to a good fort is its foundation. Weather this means more couch cushions or an elaborate jump rope roof beam system, any inhabitable fort must have some element of structural integrity. I don’t know much about construction, but I did build a lot of forts as a child and I learned the hard way that a faulty foundation is a recipe for frustration and a lot of blankets on the floor instead of over my head. Having exposed my engineering background, you can see how God’s perfection frightens me a great deal at times. Far too often, I put the pressure of becoming “a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God” on myself and not “through Jesus Christ.” I feel like I will never be good enough to be a living stone in the structure of the Church and somehow I have to hide my flaws in order to fit into this culture created by a perfect God. Out of this insecurity, I build earthly structures around myself founded in the insufficient rocks of sarcasm or popularity or humor, but all of these rocks crumble under the pressure of the world around me. So when God looks at me and says, “You’re fabulous” I don’t often beam with excitement and joy. I most often shrink away and think, “You’re kidding right, you know how broken and sinful I am.” But the beauty of the Gospel both confirms my consciousness of my shortcomings and assures me that I, broken pieces and all, belong right where I am. My belonging is not based on my own merit or sufficiency, but on the perfection of Christ and His sacrifice on my behalf. His foundational work in my life and the life of the Church allows us to stand under the pressure of the world with the confidence of His completed work and not on our own strength. Unlike the Spartans, our living walls are truly unshakable because we are “Upheld by (His) righteous, omnipotent hand.”
So what do we do with the fortification we have been given? Our foundation in the Gospel allows us to seek out our fellow broken people in our community. It allows us to welcome new friends into our body even when we are afraid of change. This freedom allows us to be transparent about our brokenness and frees us from pretending that we are fine when we are hurting. At times, this foundation is not a freeing and joyful comfort in our lives. In our sinfulness, the Bible is just a list of rules and Jesus is just a slave driver that enforces these rules. Jesus is only a stumbling block for us when we hold our false foundations as more precious than Him. That is to say, these things are not evil in themselves, they are just not equipped to be our corner stone. Our bank accounts, jobs, families, friendships, and other blessings in our lives are a crucial part of the building of the church, but they cannot function as the foundation for our lives or we will fall apart when they fail us. With this in mind we can “rid ourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind,” because we are “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession.” As you go throughout your week, remind yourself of your foundation and ask where you have attempted to fortify an already perfect foundation. What aspects of your life have you set up as essential when they are actually garnishes on the completed work of Christ? Where do you need to rest and trust in Christ when you have been worrying and stressing about your abilities?