We know that Jesus is our cornerstone and the necessary foundation for our life in Him. (1 Peter 2:6–7) But what is under the other three corners of your spiritual tabernacle? What verses would you suggest that others put in their corners? I’m not necessarily meaning your favorite verses, but the ones that influence and support everything else that you build upon them. Secular folks might liken these to your life philosophies, the ethical and moral standards that your life is built upon. While there is a small similarity there is a huge difference. They have chosen to build on sand instead of on the rock of Jesus Christ. Everything built on a foundation other than Jesus is weak, wobbly, and misshapened.
I have three suggestions for the other corners, but they are only that, suggestions. The first comes from Proverbs. One Christmas I received a Bible from my grandfather and asked him to inscribe it. On the second page he wrote Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” and signed his name. Trusting God is vital for every moment of life. First, we have to decide that we can trust Him, then we need to decide that we will trust him. We may not always understand, but we can trust. If we lean outside of that trust our walls become tilted. Think Leaning Tower of Pisa tilted. Not exactly what the builder had in mind. So often I’ve thought I knew the right answer, the right way to go, the right way to think about something only to discover later that I was leaning on my own understanding and not trusting God.
The second of the other corners is held up by the prophet Micah. He asks a simple question – what exactly does the Lord require? How much sacrifice? How much treasure? “With what shall I come to the Lord And bow myself before the God on high? Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings, With yearling calves? Does the Lord take delight in thousands of rams, In ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” The answer is three simple yet profound things. “He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:6–8, NASB95)
Do justice, deal with integrity and not prejudice – treat all others justly. Love kindness, treat others with respect, dignity, and kindness whether they deserve it or not. Walk humbly with God, avoid pride and seeing yourself as something you’re not. I’m not God, God is God. While I am a unique creation and treasured by God I am not a special anointed one, I am neither better nor less than any other brother or sister in Christ. To paraphrase Micah – keep everything in their proper perspective while you walk with Christ.
The last of the other corners comes from the Gospels, “One of them, a lawyer, asked Him (Jesus) a question, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”” (Matthew 22:35–40, NASB95) The final corner is supported by love. Loving God with every part of my being; all of my heart, soul, mind, and (from another account) strength. Loving each other the same way that I love myself and desire others to love me.
One day a self-proclaimed “strident atheist” was trying to lay a trap, the bait was the Ten Commandments and the other laws of the Old Testament. Since they were so important, he challenged, I should be able to quote them with 100% accuracy. Never mind that there are two accounts and various traditions on how they are numbered. I instead said something along the lines of, “I prefer the two over the ten” and proceeded to quote the above verse. He didn’t have much to say in response. I suppose that you could also look at it this way – The Hebrews struggled for centuries to keep the list of don’ts contained in the law. Jesus turned it upside down – do the do’s and you won’t have time to worry about the don’ts.
What about you?
Those are my three and I would commend them to anyone. But each of us is unique so your three corners may be different. I would challenge however that trying to mix a man-made philosophy with the cornerstone of Jesus is ultimately impossible. Having one corner of your house built on Jesus and another corner built on “grin and bear it” or “I’m okay, you’re okay” or “it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you believe” or “YOLO” or “if it feels good do it” will not work for long. The Apostle Paul warned, “For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:11–15, NASB95) So, what are the foundation stones that you are building your tabernacle of faith upon?
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