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Three passages from the Bible give us insight into the answer of this question. These passages are statements made by the Apostle Paul, the Apostle John and Jesus.
1. The apostle Paul, while addressing the Corinthian church, stated that Jesus Christ is the foundation that we should build our lives on.
But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Christ Jesus. 1 Corinthians 3:10-11
2. Jesus, while addressing his 12 apostles made the following statement about the "rock" that His church (and all of our lives as believers) should be built on. He explains that His church will be built on WHO HE IS (as their Messiah and Son of Godr). He shares this in light of the false teaching coming from the religious leaders at that time. These leaders had twisted God's commands and had made THEM (the commandments), instead of the ONE who wrote them, the focus of people's lives. We are meant to "live the commandments" in light of how Jesus modeled these principles. If you read all of Matthew 16 you will see the context of this passage with respect to the religious leaders and Jesus' rebuke of them.
"When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets." "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered,"You are the Christ (Messiah/Savior), the Son of the living God."
Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock (your confession of who I AM) I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. " Matthew 16:13-19
3. The apostle John, in one of his letters to the church (1 John 4:9) stated the following about Jesus' role in our lives:
"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him." 1 John 4:9
John is saying that we are to live our lives through Jesus - through the "filter" of Christ's worldview and Christ's love. In other words, we are to seek to understand how Christ sees things, how Christ feels about things, how Christ defines the Father (God), how Christ defines what I'm worth. All truth should stem from Christ's perspective of life.The TRUE IDENTITY of JESUS CHRIST as the SON of the LIVING GOD is the ROCK that our lives should be built on.
HOW do we build our lives on Jesus as our rock?
Jesus says that LISTENING TO HIS WORDS (which we find in the Bible), HOLDING ON TO THEM, and PUTTING THEM INTO PRACTICE is what building our lives on Jesus as our "rock" means. Other scriptures, that we looked at above, explain this as "living our lives THROUGH Jesus". Following are some scriptures that explain these principles:
At the end of his famous "Sermon on the Mount" (Matthew 5:1 - 7:29) Jesus summed up with these words:
"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash." When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law." Matthew 7:24-28
In John 8:31-32, Jesus also said the following:
"To the Jews who believed Him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free." John 8:31,32
Here he is showing us that "intellectual belief" alone (or just hearing and mentally agreeing with a teaching alone) won't set us free from our bad habits or distorted perspective on life. We must trust Jesus enough to "hold on" to Jesus' teaching. We do this by putting his teaching into practice! This is called "exercising our faith". Most of us know that this is true in life. Until we step out and actually try something new (like serving people on Thanksgiving or volunteering for Meals on Wheels) we can't know the joy we will experience. We can imagine it, but until we actually DO that thing, we won't know it personally.
Building our life on Jesus as our rock starts with a decision to follow Jesus - to learn from Him (as our Teacher) - to be his apprentice. This is what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.
Through studying these scriptures, Jesus is telling us that our whole way of looking at things will change as we live our lives "dependent" on Christ. As we ask Him to help us embrace His worldview by being the filter through which we see the world, we will be free from basing our worth on how well we "obey" God's rules. We will be able to look beyond the "rules" to the "principles" of the "one" who created them. We will truly fall in love with God and will enjoy the inner security that only He can bring. As a result, following God's principles will become a desire that comes from within, rather than a curse that requires strict discipline.
The old mindset of "perfectly following the commandments in order to go to heaven" was never part of God's plan. Men misinterpreted God's purpose in giving us the beautiful commandments (and principles for life). They distorted God's law and used it incorrectly. Even today, many "Christian" groups teach that Christianity is a new set of rules, in addition to the 10 commandments. These same types of people teach that Christians must add these rules to their lives and follow them perfectly in order to prove that they are "worthy" to "earn" a place in heaven. (See The Purpose of the Law to understand this further.)
Jesus gives people a new perspective of God and a new way to access God. According to the scriptures in Matthew 16:5-12, people that are part of Jesus' church will have power over Satan. In fact, Peter was given the "keys" to open the doors to Jesus' church. Peter used these keys on Pentecost (See Acts 2:14-41) when he stood up and preached the first sermon and proclaimed the same statement undergirding the rock solid foundation that was proclaimed in Matthew 16 above: That Jesus is indeed the awaited for Savior! Over 3000 people accepted Christ as the Messiah that day.
The rest of the studies in the Foundations section look at a number of Jesus' teachings in greater detail and will help you practically build your life on Christ as your solid rock foundation.