24 November 2009

Renewing & Rebuilding

I was reviewing some of my pictures from our recent trip to Israel today, and I'm still just utterly amazed that we can literally walk on roads, streets and sidewalks that were made over 2,000 years ago, and some of them even older. With each new city we went to, no matter how ancient, there was always another city or civilization built on top of that one. This eventuality continues until either that city dies to be buried in the rubble of history until someone stumbles upon it and digs it up again, or a modern city is built right over top of it all. In the villages that we looked at there were easily seen archeological evidence of buildings built right on top of the foundations of those that had come before them. This is what got me thinking.

Our lives, each and every one, are living examples of just that. Lives, new and modern, built on the foundations of those that came before us. In some cases, our lives include self-generations where we destroy what we were living on in order to make something new and better. No matter where you are at in your life's journey, there is a foundation under you. Why do I know this to be true?, because we all have those who have come before us. Each one who has come before us has added to that foundation on which you and I walk today.

On our trip in Israel, we were there because Jesus came before us. He laid a foundation for us with the Father that we all can take advantage of today. But we forget sometimes, that even Jesus had those who had come before His incarnate walk on earth. In Capernaum as an example we observed an ancient synagogue there. That synagogue had a foundation that was built in the later Roman period, but underneath that was another foundation, and that one was built before the time of Jesus. Those were the foundation stones that were laid by those who came before Jesus, so that Jesus might walk on those stones, and give us teachings that would change the world. Jesus was preceded by John the Baptist, and he was preceded by 4,000 years of patriarchs and prophets before him. Even Adam had a foundation as the triune God has always existed and were there present at his making. We worship One God, but we owe much to many who have come before us.

As I looked at that picture of the layered foundations in Capernaum, I thought, that's my life; layer upon layer of experience and growth. By the way it is no small coincidence that the older layers are more black, and the newer layers appear whiter and whiter. The old me is buried under the foundations that I have allowed Christ and my spiritual forefathers to lay on top of what I had tried to do on my own. Each new layer of the foundations in Capernaum were cut with greater precision, and engineered with greater knowledge and understanding of what was being built, and the importance of it. As too with my life, each new layer is built over and old one that I'd just as soon leave buried, and the newer layers are cleaner, more precise, and engineered with greater understanding, and cut with tools more superior that I had even imagined existed.

As we build the story of our lives, God is building through us a testimony that will be unique to your life. Our foundations are the investment that others have made into our lives before us. Some investments have been made with sand. Some of us have parents and family histories that can create nothing more than foundations of sand that can hold nothing, and the longer we stand on them the further we sink into lifelessness. Others have build on brick and mortar, those who care about us and wanted what was best for us, at least in their own thinking. Then along comes Jesus into our lives, and we find that while we may never forget those times when we lived on foundations of sand, or brick & mortar, that long lasting foundations are only built on stone not cut with human hands, but prepared for us by our Creator Himself.

With that in mind, I realized, just like the Romans, that if I want to build the best life for myself, sometimes it requires tearing down all that has come before it, removing all the rubble, and allowing Christ top build with whatever is left. Emptying myself is just as important, if not more so, than allowing myself to be filled with Jesus. There must be less of me, so that there can be more of Him. Someone who came before me laid that foundational nugget. Let us devote ourselves to renewing and rebuilding. Let us renew our commitment and dedication to Jesus, allowing Him to rebuild our lives in the way that HE would have us go. Tear down the things that hold us back, the trappings of the world, and the desires of the flesh. Let us look forward to a building of pure white laid on a foundation of pure white stone that will last forever.