“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine ..." (Matthew 7:24-27)

“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)

What is the house built 'on sand'?

Jesus is using metaphorical language to describe the temporary nature of the physical world. He is describing the unsustainability of putting our hopes and dreams upon the temporary things and forms of this world.

Jesus' statements are not a lesson on architecture, though they are accurate. What sense does it make to build a structure on top of a shifting, temporary foundation? This physical world is precisely that: A shifting, temporary illusion of permanence.

If we construct our life upon the premise that money or fame will bring happiness, we are living a falsehood. If we construct our life upon the assumption that the things and forms of this temporary physical world offer fulfillment, we are living in a mirage.

This might be compared to a dream. When sleeping, we might be immersed in a vivid dream. But when we wake up the dream and all its imagery is over. Vanished.

This is similar with respect to this physical world. When our physical body dies, we become separated from our body and the physical world. Our body will decompose and we will leave it behind.

Our body is like a house - a temporary residence - occupied by the soul. It is not that we have a soul. We are the soul.

Our physical body was designed to last only a few decades. The illusion is that none of us thinks our body will die. We see physical bodies dying all around us, but we don't think ours will die.

This is an illusion. Every body will die, including ours. And time flies. With each passing day, we get closer and closer to the time of death. Will we be ready?

First, we must realize that we are not these physical bodies. They are like cars. We get in them and drive them for a while. Then we must leave them. We are eternal spirit-persons occupying a temporary physical form.

What is the 'house on the rock'?

Jesus is telling us to put our focus upon the permanent existence of the Supreme Being and His world instead of the temporary nature of this physical body. The physical body and the physical world is changing and temporary. The Supreme Being is eternal and our relationship with Him is eternal.

Just as the eyes or a camera must decide whether to focus upon things right in front of us or things in the distance, we have to decide where to put our focus in life.

If we put our focus upon the things of this world we cannot focus on the Supreme Being. And if our focus stays upon the temporary things of this world - money, fame, appreciation, family, and so on - we will lose our opportunity to re-develop our relationship with the Supreme Being.

This human form of life is precious because it gives us the intelligence to explore spiritual knowledge. Our brains and intelligence allow us to probe our identity and our purpose for existing. It is an opportunity that we can lose.

Jesus' analogy regarding building a house is appropriate in that many of us spend a significant amount of time and focus upon constructing our temporary physical lives. We may focus on our career, our family, and our financial position. Yes, some focus is necessary to take care of our body and the bodies of our family. But the temporary nature of these elements can be realized at the same time.

This is one reason these activities can become so frustrating. Career, family, kids, house, all the practical elements of this world are frustrating in order to remind us that this is not our home. This is not our permanent career. This is not my permanent house and so on.

What should be our priorities?

With this understanding, how do we prioritize our lives?

First, we can ask: Where are our current priorities? Upon things that won't last or on things that will last?

And what will last? What things are permanent?

Our relationship with the Supreme Being will last eternally. And the lessons we learn while we are in this world will also last eternally.

In Jesus' phrase "words of mine" - "words" is derived from the Greek word λόγος (logos), which means "doctrine, teachings" according to the lexicon. Therefore, Jesus is speaking about his teachings - "my teachings" is a more appropriate translation.

And what was Jesus' most important teaching?
" 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'" (Matt. 22:37)