A house needs a firm foundation. A wise builder finds solid ground and pours footers for the base of the house to sit on. A building built on a firm foundation will stand during storms and will not sink and crumble over time.
Jesus spoke about just such a firm foundation. “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.” (Matthew 7:24-27 NIV)
I am tempted to build my faith on the foundation of my own experience and feelings: God has given me peace. I know what I feel in my heart. It feels like God has abandoned me. I pray and feel nothing, so I wonder if God is there.
The problem with my feelings as the foundation of my faith is that my feelings are fickle. They come and go. And my feelings can prove to be very unreliable indicators of reality. How do you spell "impulse buying" and "buyer's regret"? I have often come to look back with regret on decisions made based on the feelings of the moment. There must be something stronger, something more reliable, to base my faith upon.
And there is! Jesus says the one who "hears these words of mine and puts them into practice" builds on the foundation of rock. Whatever the world says, and whatever my feelings say, the truth I find in Jesus is a stronger foundation. And the truth I find in Jesus is not limited to the red letters in my Bible - the actual words Jesus spoke. Because by the Holy Spirit, Jesus was speaking through Moses and Isaiah and Peter and Paul when they wrote other parts of the Scripture.
The apostle Paul makes this strong claim in 2 Timothy 3:16-17: "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." My experience can inform me of God's working in my life. My experience can confirm the truth of Scripture. But my experience can also betray me and lead me into grave error.
I can feel happier and more secure with lots of money and material possessions. But basing my life on material things can be undergirded by greed and idolatry. Instead of trusting God for security, I can fall into trusting the works of my own hands, and be far from Him. Scripture declares a far stronger foundation upon which to build a life than riches and possessions.
John Wesley read many books, but said he was "a man of one book." That book was the Bible. The truth of Scripture was more important and more foundational than the writings of human authors to Wesley, and it is to me as well.
One may consider the Bible to be an antiquated, old fashioned, out-of-touch book that can be ignored in light of the times we live in and our own thoughts and feelings. Or one may consider the Bible to be alive with God-breathed, timeless truth that is a firm foundation on which to build a life. And each one of us decides whether we will live by its truth or by our own logic and feelings.
An old children's song says it well:
Yes, that's the book for me
I stand alone on the word of God