Randy and I enjoy creating new additions to our home and yard. We love building new ways to display God’s beautiful creation of flowers and trees. Our backyard has become a place of solace and peace when we finally take time to rest from the work. When we can’t go outside, we plan what we can spruce up on the inside of our home. In all of these projects we have learned many lessons of building details to achieve excellence in the outcome of what we dream and envision.
We learn that all projects begin with measuring. Measuring details are a must when trying to fit a new structure in an old place in an already established yard. Will it fit? Where is the best place to fit it in? How will we line it up to be straight with the fence behind it? Is the fence straight enough to use as a place to begin measuring? How far out should it come? All these questions and much more are part of the thought processes when constructing gardens or structures, right?
Last summer, we took on the challenge of erecting a new storage building. We wanted something to not merely store our yard stuff, but would be attractive enough to add to the yard’s beauty—not take away from it. After studying how to do this, we learned that you must begin with a strong foundation before doing anything else. That was the hardest work of all! The foundation had to be dug deep into the ground beyond shifting dirt and mulch and be anchored to solid concrete corners to assure stability.
The foundation had to be perfectly aligned or the rest of the pieces of this structure to be built would not fit into place. Randy dug deep. The foundation placement was measured many times to assure success. He began by aligning the first corner. Once the first corner is squared, we could line up the other corners to it. When the foundation was set in place on solid ground, he began building one wall at time on the true measure of the solid foundation.
We finished this project after a week of hard labor. Sometimes we had “do overs” and took apart what we thought was right but wasn’t. That can be frustrating, but if you want it done right, you do it over. All said and done, our building looks great and is attractive on the outside. But will it withstand the high winds our Indiana storms can bring we wondered? That was tested many times since then. The building did not move. In fact, we think it is more solid and trustworthy than our home! We know what’s underneath and how the storage building was put together!
You can probably see where I’m going with this real story of hard work. As we constructed the building, we were reminded of Peter’s teaching in this very passage we are reading and studying today. (There’s a sermon in everything if you look for it!) Peter gives us perfect, clearly stated directions for constructing lives built on Jesus. Once we believe and follow Jesus, His Holy Spirit helps us build our lives as a place, a holy sanctuary, where God dwells. This lifelong “project” of building our lives will take hard work and begins with a clean sweep of the old life, daily getting rid of all that is in us that is not God.
Building Godly lives means aligning ourselves with Jesus Christ, the Cornerstone—the True Measure of structuring our lives into a holy place where we “grow up mature and whole in God”. Jesus is Savior and Lord upon which all of life is measured excellently. Will there be “do-overs”? Oh yes, friends, but God knows our imperfections and provides perfect forgiveness with ways to realign the construction. These are the lessons we learn in the maturity process of building our lives for God.
1 Peter 2, The Message
1-3 So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You’ve had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God.
4-8 Welcome to the living Stone, the source of life. The workmen took one look and threw it out; God set it in the place of honor. Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life, in which you’ll serve as holy priests offering Christ-approved lives up to God. The Scriptures provide precedent:
Look! I’m setting a stone in Zion,
a cornerstone in the place of honor.
Whoever trusts in this stone as a foundation
will never have cause to regret it.
To you who trust him, he’s a Stone to be proud of, but to those who refuse to trust him,
The stone the workmen threw out
is now the chief foundation stone.
For the untrusting it’s
. . . a stone to trip over,
a boulder blocking the way.
They trip and fall because they refuse to obey, just as predicted.
9-10 But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.
* * *
11-12 Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life in your neighborhood so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives.
13-17 Make the Master proud of you by being good citizens. Respect the authorities, whatever their level; they are God’s emissaries for keeping order. It is God’s will that by doing good, you might cure the ignorance of the fools who think you’re a danger to society. Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government.
The Kind of Life He Lived
18-20 You who are servants, be good servants to your masters—not just to good masters, but also to bad ones. What counts is that you put up with it for God’s sake when you’re treated badly for no good reason. There’s no particular virtue in accepting punishment that you well deserve. But if you’re treated badly for good behavior and continue in spite of it to be a good servant, that is what counts with God.
21-25 This is the kind of life you’ve been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived. He suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step-by-step.
He never did one thing wrong,
Not once said anything amiss.
They called him every name in the book and he said nothing back. He suffered in silence, content to let God set things right. He used his servant body to carry our sins to the Cross so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way. His wounds became your healing. You were lost sheep with no idea who you were or where you were going. Now you’re named and kept for good by the Shepherd of your souls.
I believe. I want to build my life on the Solid Rock, aligned with the chief Cornerstone of my existence as a believer. All my trust is in You. All my hope is in You. You are the True Measure of life with You. I will measure my life against You alone and no one else. I want to walk in your steps daily. It is a harder, less traveled path, Lord, but I know whom I have believed. I desire what you desire for me. I want to walk in your ways, with your peace in all kinds of storms with your Light guiding my path. You chose me. I choose you. You are God. Abide in me, for I know the paint is still wet on my construction! You’re not finished with me yet!
In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen