Faulty Building Materials

by Marilyn Ehle

you are God’s building. Each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or stray, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light.1 Corinthians 3:9-13

An engineer inspects a building still standing, but extensively damaged, by the recent earthquake in Haiti. When she scrapes her fingernails over a protruding “cement” block, sand and small stones crumble to the ground and she proves her point: this building was made from faulty materials. Another minor quake or even a hurricane of medium force will bring it to the ground.

Spiritual writer and teacher Basil Pennington writes, “my false self is made up of what I have, what I do and what people think of me. It is constructed, therefore, of false attachments.” Anyone who has ever been involved in building a structure knows the value of carefully attaching the superstructure to a firm foundation. Rusty nails will not do. Watery cement will ultimately prove disastrous.

How much of my identity is tied to these three aspects: what I have (this includes more than possessions; it also encompasses my physical appearance, health, strength, etc.); what I do (activities, job/profession); what people think of me (perceptions, impressions). If I were stripped of these three, who would I be?

The goal of  “radical Christian spiritual transformation” (as described by David Benner) is to walk on the journey of intimacy with God, increasingly aware that He deeply loves me and is committed to constructing me into a reflection of His own glory. Only the materials He uses are sufficient.

Father, thank you for revealing how much I value wrong or inadequate building materials. Please be faithful in pointing out to me how to consistently keep my eyes on you and build into my life with materials chosen by you.

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