The ones who respect me and really love me are the ones who do what I ask them to do. They are like the person who built the house on solid rock. After torrents of rain, the floods came and the winds battered the house, but it stood firm.
But the ones who make a show of respect for me, but don’t really follow me, are like the person who built the house on sand. When the rains came and the streams rose, the winds battered the house and it collapsed with a mighty crash.
When Jesus had finished talking, the people sat there stunned because His teaching was so different from that of the scribes and Pharisees. He had made things plain to them and had given them a sense of certainty and hope, not just a lot of rules.
Matthew 7:24-29 (Message Bible)
I’ve heard this story told, and I hope it’s not true—but it makes a point to us Adventists, or to any Christian who has been brought up with a lot of rules:
A group of Adventist believers were traveling together in a foreign country. It so happened that on a Sabbath afternoon the group was wandering around and came to a curio gift shop, which they entered.
One lady, seeing something small she wanted very much, remembered it was Sabbath and therefore that she shouldn’t buy it. After all, her Adventist and non-Adventists companions were with her, and she didn’t want to be a bad influence.
As she slowly wandered around the shop, she quietly and very unobtrusively put the coveted object in her bag and left the shop with her companions. No one saw her!
Of course you and I laugh and shake our heads; we would never do that. But I’m afraid that for many of us, at times, it is more important to look good than to be good. It’s a frightening thought! How important is it for us to appear good? After all, we are not to be stumbling blocks to our neighbors. Is that so important that we forget God sees our thoughts and secret lives? Is it possible to be fake Christians?
We hear a lot about fake news today, but could we be fake? Yes! It is possible to be fake, and I’m afraid we all fall under that title at times. Fake is being that which appears to be real, but isn’t. How often do we say or do something to impress or flatter, or avoid answering to anything that might embarrass us, or put us in a bad light?
Jesus tells us in verse 24 (above) that when we truly love Him, we will want to please Him. We will build our characters on solid words from Jesus—a house built on solid rock. When temptations in the form of storms come to us, we will have the strength needed to hold on to the solid character of Jesus.
As fake Christians, face people, we will not have our houses on a strong rock. What foolish person would build on sand? Maybe the sand used was covered with greenery and flowers, hiding the shifting sand. If we are not strong in our relationship with Christ, we will easily be fooled and become fake—all for the sake of looking good!
May we be strong; may we study and live the words of Jesus so we will have answers to all our questioning and strength to face temptations. May we live our Christianity with joy, not fear.
Verse 20 in the same passage states it beautifully: You will be able to detect those who are genuine from those who are not by observing the fruit they produce (Matthew 7:20). Remember, the fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self control (Galatians 5:22, 23).
We will not be fake, or build our houses on sand, when we live our Christianity focused on Jesus.