Series: General | Title: Build up your Resiliency | Sermon by: Pastor Balan Swaminathan | Location: House of Intercessory Prayer Ministries, Halifax, NS Canada | Date: Sunday, October 29, 2017
Matthew 7:24-27 24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken (compare/associate) him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
Who is a wise man here? Who ever hears the Word and does them. Who is foolish man, who hears the Word and doesn’t do. When we hear the Word of God, we become wise when we put the Word of God into practice. When we hear the Word of God and we do not practice those scriptures, we become foolish. That’s what scripture says. God says, we need to be found wise, that’s the reason this parable is given. Jesus here is saying that somebody built a house on the rock. Who is that man, who hears the Word of God and who practices that scripture. Somebody did not practice that scripture, he just hear the Word. We hear many sermons but at the end of it, we don’t really practice anything, we don’t apply anything in our lives. Then scripture says we are foolish. We are equivalent to build a house on sand. When wind blows, when flood rises, the house collapses. God says you are foolish. Because you keep hearing but you are not doing anything according to the Lord.
Today I would like to title my sermon as “Build up your resiliency”
- Resilience describes the ability to spring back after being bent or stretched out of shape.
- Resiliency is the status where someone is stretched beyond a limit and when everything is over, he is able to come back or spring back to its original position. The ability to recover from the storms of life, that is what resiliency is.
- Resilient people adapt to adversities. We all go through some kind of adversity. Things are not working the way we want. If everything is working the way I want, I will be the king of this world. But things are not working in the way I want. Things are working in the way God wants probably in my life. So resilient people adapt any adversity.
- They weather or survive life’s storms.
- Most of the time they may get hit by many situations but they raise up again – they are going to be stronger. You look at the trees, they suffer through the wind, storm and the hurricane. I believe somehow they recovered and those bent trees, could be straight little later when the hurricane is over. That is what is resiliency. God expects that character in our lives. God wants to develop that resilience in us so that we will be able to handle any adverse situation in our lives.
Jesus spoke about the house that was rained over, hit by floods and beaten by heavy winds and storms. Still that house was found erect. The house was resilient enough to withstand all the storms that it could face in its life. God is asking you, are you able to withstand the life’s storms that are blowing in your life, that are taking you to time of confusion and you feel like withdrawing from everything that you are been doing for God. You just want to get into a silent mode. Probably you will think, it is the time when I just want to be on myself. God is telling you, you need to be resilient.
Ken Cooper is a kind of guy, I don’t want to have him as my neighbor, I don’t think you want to have him as your neighbor. But he is a loving father and a loving husband, a role model for underprivileged children. But he had a dark side – he was also one of Florida’s most wanted criminals. He began shoplifting when he was a child, he started stealing cars and later on he went on robbing banks. In the middle of all this his wife died with cancer in the very early stage. Many robberies happened in his life after that. When someone asked,”why you do all these things?” He said,”I am not robbing for money. I don’t want money. The purpose was to handle the deep depression that I had after loosing my wife. I wanted to show my anger on something. That’s the reason I do all these things.”
Ken’s double life ended very soon, as he was shot when he was robbing a bank and he was sentenced for 99 years in The Rock, Florida’s most infamous prison. He was there with inmate prisoners. They were murders, rape criminals and everybody was there along with him in the prison. But while Ken Cooper was in prison, he heard about the love of the Jesus, the prison chaplain preached him about Lord Jesus and Ken Cooper became a Christian. He accepted Jesus Christ. Along with Ken, there were many cellmates, they also accepted Jesus Christ. They started preaching about Jesus to all their prison cellmates.
One day Ken and his friends adopted a kitten, its backbone was broken, his eyes were blinded and they named the kitten as Mr. Magoo. Ken Cooper was taking care of the kitten. Ken Cooper was laying his hands on the kitten’s head and praying for God to open his eyes and his eyes opened. Kitten started seeing. All the inmates were taking care of the kitten very well and the prison started changing. There is no more rapist, there is no more thieves in the prison. Everybody started coming into the love of Jesus Christ because of the ministry of the Ken Cooper and his cellmates. Ken Cooper was released very soon. He dedicated his entire life to serve among the prisoners those who are getting out of the prison after imprisonment, that is resilience. God is talking about someone who has gone very far and at the right time he is able to bend back to his original position in Christ.
When Jesus spoke about this, in Matthew 7:24-27 (again). The questions that we need to ask:
- What makes us strong, what makes us resilient, what makes us enduring? It’s not just hearing the Word of God but it is doing the Word of God. We want to put this Word of God in practice. Otherwise Christianity doesn’t mean anything.
- Whose life is founded on the Rock? – The one who listens and does.
- Who can withstand the storms of life? – The one who listens the Word of God and put them into practice. There is great deal of pressure in the Word of God, there is great deal of attention in the Word of God to put into practice what we learn.
- To whom the more is given, much is required. We all are given sermons week after week and we hear sermon online. Much is given, much is required too.
What did they hear? Jesus is almost ending the sermon on the mount. Mathew chapter 5, 6, 7, all talks about the sermon on the mount. Jesus preached a long sermon, at the end of sermon Jesus is saying, you heard me until now, now you go and put everything into practice. What did they hear in the sermon on the mount. Jesus talked about:
“The Be attitudes, Salt and Light, Fulfilling the Law, Anger and Murder, Lust and Adultery, Divorce and Remarriage, Oaths, Eye for an Eye, Love your enemies, Give to the Needy people, How to Pray, How to Fast, False Teacher and False Prophets, The Wise Builder and the Foolish builder”.
They heard so much from Lord Jesus and now Jesus wanted them to go and put them into practice.
- Resilience is the ability of an object to spring back its original shape.
- It is the ability to withstand all the difficult situations of the life.
- Resiliency is achieved by putting into practice the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Life is going to throw a lot of challenges on us. Storm is going to come on our way, we can never stop. If our house is built on sand, it is going to collapse. We can not expect that to come up again. But a house that is built on the rock, when the storm blows, it is going to stand. It may be push little bit here but it is going to come back. That’s what is resiliency.
How do we build up resilience?
- Be aware of your situation
- Be aware of your enemies
- Be built on God
- Be ready for another season
Be aware of your situation
In order to build resiliency in our lives, in order to build that ability to quickly gain back or original position, first thing we need to do is to be aware of our situation. This is Step 1.
Imagine a soldier, who is in the battle front. He may be facing so many unexpected situations in the area of his operation. Sudden threats of the enemy, unforeseen dangers coming on his way, loss of lives in front of him, enemy’s strategy gets changed at times, mistrust and misbehavior of the fellow soldiers, sometimes he lose the commander’s favor etc. The soldier who is at war front is vulnerable to all these attacks everyday.
Where are you today? We are living in a strange world, strange nation, for most of us not the native country, we don’t having any of your family members nearby, at times we wonder what am I doing under the heaven, sitting here in this nation. The soldier on the forefront of the battlefield feels the same thing at times. At times we feel, we are just left all alone in our lives.
What are the threats around us? Health is at risk at times, our future is not guaranteed. What about our study, our work situation, our children, our job, financial situation. We are not stable yet even at the age of 30, 40, 45 . What is going on in our life. By the time we try to settle down, relationships strains. What else? Life is throwing all that it can, on our lives. We are like a soldier, standing and facing the adverse situations in the forefront.
Think of a tree trying to stand in the middle of a storm. During the storm certainly it is going to lose some of its leaves, some of the branches are already broken, tree is still struggling to stand straight in its life.
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4, We are hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted, struck down.
Is that you today?
Be aware of your enemies
We are living in a world, things are not happening in the favor of us, because we have an enemy. We cannot neglect him.
A young naval captain was commanding his battleship for the first time in his career. The battleship was piercing through the ocean on a particular night, he could spot in the dark pitch night, a spot of light coming towards the ship.
The young commander radioed to the other ship, “Alter your course ten degrees.”
The reply came very shortly, “No, you alter your course ten degrees.”
Captain became very aggressive. He is a fearless captain. He angrily sent a message, “Alter your course, I am a destroyer.”
The reply came quickly, “Alter your course, I am a lighthouse.”
Sometime in the course of our life, we need to alter our ways in order to survive in this world. We came with a plan to this nation, what happened to that plan? We came with the idea of settling down quickly within six months that was promised, three years now passed by, what happened to that?
Sometimes we are called to quickly adjust to our situation to find survival on this earth. That’s the reason Solomon said in:
Proverbs 22:3 A prudent man (sensible) foresees evil and hides himself, But the simple (inexperienced) pass on (keep going ) and are punished.
God is calling you, to know the enemy so that you know to become resilient, when the enemy passes over you. We need to know our enemies.
Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Our fight is not with flesh and blood, there is a power behind. To become resilient God wants us to know our enemy. He is trying to do all this, to put us down. There are prophesies spoken in our life but today those prophecies have not come true, the reason is not that God lied, but there is enemy working behind to make sure to nullify, all that God has promised in your life. Once God’s blessing are cancelled in your life, you are brought to the ground. That’s what enemy is trying.
Be built on God
The reason the wise man put his foundation on the Rock, because he knew his enemy. Even before the house was built, he knew very well, he cannot built his house on the sand. He need to built his house on the rock. He decided to build his house on the rock. Be built on God.
Your christian life, the life that we tried to built in Christ, has to be built by us, that cannot be borrowed. Today we try to borrow our Christian life from others. We look at the videos, the way people preach, the way people do things, we get fascinated by those things and we try to borrow their life. It’s not going to work. This is the life, that has to be built by us. This morning God wants to tell us, we need to built our life in Christ.
You know what deeper foundation means?
Deeper foundation means:
- Having a deeper relationship with God. We don’t see that outside. Saying hundred times praise the Lord doesn’t guarantee that. Having a deeper foundation in Christ, will help us to become resilient.
- Having mounted pillars of strong Biblical principles in our lives – fleeing away from sinful things, meditating on God’s Word, systematic giving, sharing the good news. These are kind of pillars that we can build in our lives. Build those pillars and work around those pillars.
- Having built on strong commitments. These commitments are important. Commitment between you and God. The sacrificial commitment that you have with your God. The decisions that you have taken that no one else knows. But that’s how you move. Those are the commitments between you and your God.
- Having a strong dependency on God.
There may be many more. These are couple of things that we can do to built that strong foundation.
Psalm 31:24 (NLT) So be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord!
1 Corinthians 15:58 So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable.
Those who lay their foundation properly in Christ Jesus, are built with greater resiliency. When wind blow on their lives, they bent, we all bend. Because we all human, nobody can stand. We think, we may fall. We are just at the edge of the situation in our life. But if our foundation is proper in Christ, we are resilient. We bent back and come to our original position.
Be ready for another season
Building up our resiliency means, being ready for another season.
- Trees that are hit by storms, look for a new season of growth. They don’t expect to be in that stormy situation every time. They expect for new growth. Slowly little later, if you go and see in the spring, all the leaves they lost, are going to come back. All the branches that they lost, are going to grow. Trees is going to come back to its original position.
- Be ready for another season. That is the expectation of child of God. It’s not that we have gone away from God, it’s not we are falling part, it’s not that we are disintegrated. God will bring us back. Be ready for that.
God is preparing you for another season – the storm that God has allowed in our lives, is not to break us, but instead to build us, to bring a new season to our lives.
- Trees lose leaves during the winter season. Specially in the month of January and February, if we see trees, we will see only branches. Trees loose their leaves during the fall. They just get ready for winter.
- As the winter approaches, for most of the birds in North America, there is scarcity of resources here, the insects they eat, are not available during winter. So most of the birds, those can fly longer, they migrate to South America and they are going to come back. They just get ready for another season.
- Jonah was in the belly of the fish and he was praying to God. God was about to bring him out and use him in another season. When Jonah came out of the belly of fish, this is what he said:
Jonah 3 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.” 3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord.
Second time Jonah was prepared for the season. Building resiliency is also being ready for another season. God wants us to be ready for another season in our lives.
Children of Israel were fed in the wilderness by Manna, Gilgal is a place where the manna ceased and the children of Israel had to learn to live by faith and not by sight (Joshua 5:10-12).
They were just wondering, Lord what happened? We thought you are giving us food everyday but suddenly manna stopped. Lord, I thought I have a job, but this morning, when I go to work, I saw a letter, you’re suspended from your duties. Today is the last day, make every settlement. Lord, I thought it is all done and you’re taking care of me but Lord why this? We think everything is going in our health well but suddenly something arise there. Lord why?
This morning God wants you to know that he is building resiliency within you. This is not the end of the life. The financial constraint is not the end, the limitations that you deal with today that’s not the end of life. God is preparing us for another season.
God wants you to get ready,
- A season of refining/ purification
- A season of abundance
- A season of new beginnings
- A season of new challenges
No matter how much we are stretched, God is equipping us to the position where we can keep going.
Elijah was crying out to God for his life, Lord take my life away, it’s all done, it’s worth that I’m not living in this world. God said, no, I am making you more resilient. You brought fire from heaven, that’s not all about your walk with Christ. You prayed for somebody for healing and today you go through that same sickness, that’s not end of it. God said, I’m equipping you for another season. I am building resilience within you so that you will be able to withstand.
Rain is going to come down, flood is going to raise in the life, and the wind is going to blow and beat on the house; But we are not going to collapse, we are going to stand firm in the Lord. The reason is, we developed that resilience within us and we can overcome because we know our enemy. Our God is such a gentle God, he says,
A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench, Matthew 12:20
Today you feel so weak and so low. When you look at the situations there is no hope. When you turn every side, you’ll see things are not working in favor of you. Enemy is trying to throw so many things in your way but God is telling you, I’m making you stronger, more resilient, I’m giving you more stamina and courage so that you will be able to handle the situation by the strength I give you.