The issue in life is not whether or not you will go through storms, but the issue is that you WILL go through storms.
Storms, difficulties, and issues are part of our life…especially as a believer.
Jesus wasn’t immune to the storms of life, and neither were his disciples. In fact, Jesus warned us that we would face such things.
In a conversation with his disciples, Jesus has some startling things to say. Let’s pick up in their conversation.
John 16:29–33 NLTse
29 Then his disciples said, “At last you are speaking plainly and not figuratively.
30 Now we understand that you know everything, and there’s no need to question you. From this we believe that you came from God.”
This is almost funny.
Jesus had just plainly told the disciples that he did indeed come from the Father. Because of this, the disciples declare, “NOW, we have no reason to question you.”
No matter that they had seen and experienced all the miracles Jesus did. Forget the times that he taught them daily about the Father. Don’t mention the fact that he dwelt with them and they had the opportunity to see him, in real time, face the obstacles and difficulties of life.
“NOW we no longer need to question…” they say.
Let me remind you that, we never need to question God. Some would argue this. They want to question.
I’m not saying that doubts won’t arise and difficulties of faith won’t come into our life…they will. Simply put, we never need to question the authority of Jesus in our life.
We might not understand how God is going to do something in our life, but we can always know that he will.
A good declaration to say is this: God has a way, even if I don’t see the way.
Listen to Jesus’ response…
31 Jesus asked, “Do you finally believe?
32 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me.
Jesus is declaring to us that even he had to go through trials and storms of life. Even the Son of God himself faced periods of isolation and moments when he didn’t know what to do. Obviously, it could be argued that Jesus always knew what to do…and this is true. But Jesus had a reason he always knew what to do.
While Jesus was on earth as a man, he was completely God, but still completely human. He displayed to us how we are to go through the difficult seasons, by going through them and showing us his example.
Jesus relied upon and sought after the Father’s leadership in his day to day life. Jesus didn’t do ANYTHING that he did not see his Father do. So Jesus completely followed the path marked out for him by the Father.
This is the exact same thing that we will have to do in our life.
Next, Jesus tells us, or warns us, in advance that storms are GOING to come our way.
33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
The only reason that believers can keep going and not give up is the fact that, in Jesus we have peace that passes understanding. He has overcome the world and everything in it that might hinder us or stand obstinately in our path.
This doesn’t mean we won’t have to face it. Rather, it means that Jesus already knows the end result and he will work out the victory for us…in us…and though us.
Each person has individual problems and storms that they have to make it through and Jesus will work in us those things which are “well pleasing” in his sight by our walk through the storms.
Now, this isn’t the first time Jesus has mentioned storms and problems of life.
Jesus is a master of illustrating principles and ideas through stories. He used parables to explain the simple yet profound principles of life that should guide us.
In Jesus greatest sermon ever, the sermon on the mount, he highlights many ideas, commands, and principles that we are to incorporate into our daily spiritual walk, but almost three chapters in, at the very end, Jesus speaks to storms and problems of life.
This is where I want to pick up his line of thought.
Matthew 7:21–29 NLTse
21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.
It is important to note that, before Jesus addresses the idea of believers facing storms of life, he first speaks to our need for complete obedience. There’s a reason that he does this.
Obedience to God is the first line of defense when you face a spiritual storm.
Unless you are and continue to be, obedient, you won’t make it through your storms with victory. Obedience matters.
Obedience matters more than most people think. Our usual “go to” response about our spiritual walk is to “do our best” and let God forgive the rest.
We tell ourselves:
“I’ll just do my best and God will forgive the rest.”
But this line of thought is deceiving. It is relative to our maturity in Christ.
The other day I asked my oldest son how he did in school. He told me that he did his best. “That’s good,” I said, “but the older you get, the better your best has to be.”
In other words, we cannot just say we are doing our best without any effort to improve our “best” and follow Jesus more closely.
Jesus deserves our best, but he also deserves our best effort to make our best better.
22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’
23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’
Why would Jesus call someone a “law breaker” who had prophesied and cast out demons in his name? Why would someone who did miracles in the name of Jesus be accused of breaking God’s law?
Because the first and most important things we have to do aren’t miracles, or prophesy, or casting out demons. No, the most important things we need to do are given to us by Jesus himself.
The GREATEST commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.”
In other words, God is looking for people who will follow first and put him first…and seek out a loving, growing relationship with him first.
The “Doing” comes second.
So, obedience to grow close to Jesus, and make your best better are the keys to what Jesus is about to say regarding storms of life.
24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.
There are two things that Jesus highlights in this passage:
- Following. (Obedience)
Those that do these two things are wise. It’s as if they were building a house, and the house they are building has a STRONG foundation that is built upon solid rock.
The prophet, the miracle worker and the one who casts out demons are not spoken of as wise…but the one who listens and obeys is.
There is good news and hope for you. You CAN strengthen your house. You can begin the process of strengthening ANY time.
It involves two things:
- Following. (Obedience)
Listening involves your ears. Obeying involves your heart.
We have to learn to open our spiritual ears to the things of God and then open our heart to be obedient by following Jesus in whatever way he leads us.
This is the only way to truly prepare our lives for facing the storms that will inevitably come our way.
25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock.
You WILL BE attacked by the enemy.
You WILL face storms of life.
You WILL go through problems.
There is no question about it, Jesus said difficult times would come.
This passage tells us that Satan’s attacks will come in at least three ways. These three ways speak to the level of severity in the storm.
The three things that will come are:
- The rain.
- The flood.
- The wind.
Depending on how the “house” of your life is built will determine whether or not you stand.
Most houses usually hold up through the rain. Even heavy rain won’t demolish a house. Rain might find its way through holes in your roof and make things a little more challenging, but rain won’t destroy your house.
But there is more…Because the longer it rains, the more the flood waters begin to rise.
A flood CAN destroy a home. Even if it doesn’t destroy it, a flood will make a house need extensive repair.
Finally, Jesus speaks of the wind.
I live a place nicknamed, “tornado alley.” In this area, you understand the severity that wind can have. It can totally and completely demolish any home.
Jesus tells us plainly that ALL THREE of these storms can and probably WILL come into our life…but we don’t have to be destroyed by them.
Remember, he gave us the key.
26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand.
27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”
28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching,
29 for he taught with real authority—quite unlike their teachers of religious law.
Jesus taught with authority, not just because he was the Son of God, but because he lived out in real life, the principles he taught.
Jesus built his house upon the ROCK. God the Father was Jesus’ Rock. In fact, the Bible says…
1 Samuel 2:2 NLTse
2 No one is holy like the Lord! There is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.
God IS a rock.
God is the ONLY ROCK that we should build our life upon.
The way you go about building your life on the rock is by listening and following (obeying) the words and teachings of Jesus. A wise person will do this and never stop doing it. That’s what Jesus said.
Let me ask you a question: Who and What are you building your life on?
Don’t choose just anything to build your life upon…choose the right thing.
I want to finish this post with an awesome passage of scripture that highlights the power and person of God himself.
2 Samuel 22:31–47 NLTse
31 “God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.
32 For who is God except the Lord? Who but our God is a solid rock?
33 God is my strong fortress, and he makes my way perfect.
34 He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights.
35 He trains my hands for battle; he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow.
36 You have given me your shield of victory; your help has made me great.
37 You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping.
38 “I chased my enemies and destroyed them; I did not stop until they were conquered.
39 I consumed them; I struck them down so they did not get up; they fell beneath my feet.
40 You have armed me with strength for the battle; you have subdued my enemies under my feet.
41 You placed my foot on their necks. I have destroyed all who hated me.
42 They looked for help, but no one came to their rescue. They even cried to the Lord, but he refused to answer.
43 I ground them as fine as the dust of the earth; I trampled them in the gutter like dirt.
This is what God desires to do to Satan in your life. Listen as he continues to describe your victory over the devil.
44 “You gave me victory over my accusers. You preserved me as the ruler over nations; people I don’t even know now serve me.
45 Foreign nations cringe before me; as soon as they hear of me, they submit.
46 They all lose their courage and come trembling from their strongholds.
47 “The Lord lives! Praise to my Rock! May God, the Rock of my salvation, be exalted!