(The Setting A Good Foundation Series)
If you’ve read some of my other Notes, you will realize that I have taken the time to write repeatedly about the issue of a relationship FOUNDATION and how important it is for a couple to ensure that this is strong.
Marriage is not all bright lights and butterflies in the stomach and floating on cloud 9.
If you pay no attention to the kind of FOUNDATION you are building as you progress in your relationship, then there is a high possibility that it will not be successful and will only result in pain, heartache, loss, disappointment and misery.
We all dream of a happily ever after when it comes to love relationships and marriage but this does not happen automatically, nor is it by chance. Successful, happy, fruitful, thriving and sustainable marriages are the product of careful attention having been paid to the FOUNDATION of that relationship structure from the get-go and the fact that the parties ensured that quality building material was used.
THE KEY TO BUILDING A STRONG RELATIONSHIP FOUNDATION
People tend to think that to have a strong foundation means to ensure that there is mutual love, mutual respect, commitment, loyalty, communication, honesty, trust and integrity. These things are wonderful for a relationship yes and are certainly pillars. However, they are not what makes a strong foundation. It is possible to have the semblance of all of the above and your marriage still fail.
To build a strong and resilient relationship and marriage foundation, the Lord Jesus must be allowed (from the get-go), to be in the midst of it. For, he is a master builder, a sure foundation and a solid rock. 1 Corinthians 3:11 makes the boast: “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
Jesus can therefore be depended upon and trusted to come up with a structure that is worthwhile, of good quality and that will stand the test of time.
In Psalm 18:2, David stated confidently of the Lord God, after he had seen his power at work: “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.”
As important as Jesus is though, people often ignore him and try to build their lives and their relationships on their own, only to wonder later when they’re picking up the broken pieces, why they have inherited such a colossal mess.
THREE (3) STEPS TO BUILDING A STRONG RELATIONSHIP FOUNDATION WITH JESUS
Allowing Jesus, which the Bible states is the Chief Cornerstone, to build your relationship and to be the very foundation, involves the following:
1. SURRENDERING your heart to the Lordship and Ruling of Jesus
You must firstly BELIEVE that when Jesus, the Son of the true and living God came to earth in human form many years ago, he was killed by men but rose from the dead on the third day just like he said he would and as is recorded in the Bible. Once you genuinely believe this in your heart, you must then CONFESS with your mouth that he is Lord.
Romans 10:9-10 gives the assurance:
- “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
In a heart of repentance for all of your sins, you must entrust your whole life into the hands of Jesus, in full confidence that he has what it takes, as your Creator, to take care of you in this life.
Once you have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and surrendered your life to his Lordship, he gives you power to become a child of God. John 1:12 states: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”
You receive his Holy Spirit which comes and dwells within you and guides and helps you in life, your heart is flooded with the light of Jesus Christ and your eyes are opened spiritually, so that you begin to see things in a proper light.
In taking this step, which is the most important decision you could ever make in life, Jesus takes up residence in your heart forever.
2. SEEKING God for help, advice and guidance
Once you have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, you now have a relationship with God (the most important relationship you could ever have with anyone, in fact). You must therefore SEEK HIM IN PRAYER (in the name of Jesus Christ) for guidance, knowledge, advice and wisdom in all areas of life, including the choice of a boyfriend and spouse.
In the Bible, God encourages his children not to rely on their own understanding but to lean on his, given that he is all wise or omniscient. He knows who is a good choice of a spouse and who is not. He also knows who will hurt you and who will not, as he knows you inside out, knows who will best be compatible with you and knows the motives of every man.
In Proverbs 3:5-6 it states: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
James 1:5 also urges those who have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour and therefore have become God’s children, to seek him for wisdom where needed. He states: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
3. KNOWING,OBEYING and APPLYING God’s Word the Bible
Having sought the Lord God for guidance and direction in the area of a relationship, you must ensure that you KNOW, APPLY and OBEY the godly principles that he has set out in his Word, the Bible, for living and for relationships.
To know God’s standards and principles, you must spend quality time (not just listening to a Preacher or Teacher) but reading the Bible yourself.
I personally recommend the King James’ Version, as it is in my view, the most reliable of all the versions available today and it is a version that I can personally attest that God approves of and speaks through.
Once you know what God’s Word says, you must obey, if you are to have a strong relationship foundation. It would make no sense to say that you believe on Jesus and have confessed that he is Lord, if you willfully disregard and disobey how he has said to live.
Remember, unless he helps you build your relationship structure, what you will have is a weak and unsustainable relationship building that will most likely fail. You must therefore build according to his Word. You can only expect Jesus to help you when you do.
For example, God’s Word makes it clear that if you believe on Jesus and have confessed him as Lord (so that you are a Christian) you should not make relationship links with men who do not believe in and serve the Lord Jesus. These are ungodly men who are of the world and with whom you should have no affiliation in the area of a relationship, whatsoever. Even if through your negligence, wilful disobedience or ignorance, you fell in love with them and it feels great, do not be deceived by your feelings and your flesh. You need to confess your sin to God, repent and put an end to that affiliation immediately.
God is able to provide a man, a better man, from among his own children for you. You don’t need to go to the world for provision.
2 Corinthians 6:14-17 commands Christians quite clearly:
- “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT IF YOU DISOBEY GOD’S WORD
If you insist on disobeying God’s Word and doing your own thing, know in advance, that your relationship will be a failure and you will be brought to shame. For, God will not bless it and he will not help you build it. In fact, do not be surprised if he fights against it.
Furthermore, as a result of your disobedience, you should not be surprised if you inherit curses which manifest in the form of endless problems, anxiety, abuse, heartache and anything but happiness. For, if you make a weak bed founded upon disobedience, that is exactly the bed that you will later lie on.
If God does not help you to build and fights against you because you have attempted to build something in your own strength and contrary to his will, according to the scriptures, there will be no happily ever after for you, no matter how hard you have laboured on that relationship, no matter how much you think you love that man and no matter how many sweet nothings he has whispered in your ear.
That man’s word is fickle and means nothing but God’s Word is everything. It will not change and it is sure. Psalm 127:1 states: “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”
In Ezekiel 13, the Israelites were purposed, based on false prophecies they had received, to build without God’s help. They were living in disobedience to his will and deluded themselves into thinking that, although they were doing things their own way without lining up with God’s precepts, that what they were building would still be successful.
They had a rude awakening. Through his prophet Ezekiel, God told them what would happen to the structure they were trying to build without him. He stated:
- “…one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with UNTEMPERED MORTAR: Say unto them which daub it with UNTEMPERED MORTAR, that it shall fall: there shall be an overflowing shower; and ye, O great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall rend it. Lo, when the wall is fallen, shall it not be said unto you, Where is the daubing wherewith ye have daubed it? Therefore thus saith the Lord God; I will even rend it with a stormy wind in my fury; and there shall be an overflowing shower in mine anger, and great hailstones in my fury to consume it. So will I break down the wall that ye have daubed with UNTEMPERED MORTAR, and bring it down to the ground, so that the FOUNDATION thereof shall be discovered, and it shall fall, and ye shall be consumed in the midst thereof: and ye shall know that I am the Lord. Thus will I accomplish my wrath upon the wall, and upon them that have daubed it with UNTEMPERED MORTAR, and will say unto you, The wall is no more, neither they that daubed it…”
The untempered mortar which was the material the Israelites had used to try to build their structure, can be likened unto a low quality, poor building material that is not of God’s choosing and that has been used without his approval. More specifically, it can refer to situations where Christians try to build love relationships with the material of disobedience and sin.
Aligning yourself as a Christian woman with an ungodly man that is not saved for example is building with untempered morter. At some stage, you can expect that God will surely break it down.
For some, fortunately, God in his mercy, broke it before they made the further mistake of getting more involved with such a man. That was my story. Having felt unloved and unwanted and desperate to find love, I was building with untempered mortar. I repented and till this day, I thank the Lord that he broke that up. It was painful but so worth it!
In other cases though, the women were not so fortunate. Some lost their virginity, got pregnant by that man and others made the huge and tragic mistake of getting married to him. When the breaking happened therefore, the pain, loss, trouble and heartache were multiplied.
Stealing somebody’s husband or having a relationship with someone who is divorced, yet their spouse is still alive is building with untempered mortar. For, it is clear in the Bible, that this is adultery in the eyes of God.
Going ahead and marrying a man who you know God has clearly shown you the red flags about and has made it clear that he is NOT THE ONE he wants for you, yet marrying him anyway because you love him and he has become your idol is foolishly building with untempered mortar. The results in your life are sure to be disastrous.
Untempered mortar is disobedience and sin and this is the worst material you can build your life or any relationship upon. No matter how much care you take to make it beautiful, you will end up with a building that is shoddy and not structurally sound. For, it has been compromised by sin. When the trials come (and these are guaranteed to come), that structure will fall because you chose not to build upon the foundation of Jesus Christ and according to his principles.
In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus compared the two different outcomes of one person who built a structure according to God’s Word and another who did not. The person that built the structure in obedience to God’s Word, had a strong structure that endured because it was founded upon the rock of the Lord Jesus Christ. When the trials came however, the other structure which may have looked great but had a very weak foundation because it was built on sand, did not last but failed.
In such cases, even where the husband and wife opt to stay married, it is an unhappy, unfruitful, painfully sterile and unproductive marriage that brings no satisfaction and contentment to the parties.
- “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”
My question to you therefore, if you’re eyeing someone or are dating/courting them or are even engaged is what is your FOUNDATION like? Have you been building upon the Word of God, the Bible and the Lord Jesus Christ?
In the Article ‘Untempered Mortar’, Ben Grisez stated:
- “In building, it is not difficult to conceal shoddy workmanship temporarily. But in the long run, cut corners have a way of broadcasting themselves. A new house can look immaculate until the rains come and show the waterproofing was not done correctly. That retaining wall may appear straight and true, but before long the plaster can chip off to reveal massive cracks…”
Many women know that their relationship is fraught with problems, yet think that if only they were to get married, that this would solve the issue. This is a mistake. If your foundation is weak, getting married will not fix it but will make the problems worse.
As Ben Grisez commented:
- “Only a fool would render a cracked slab of concrete or structural wall with massive cracks, thinking a slather of mortar will fix the gaps. No! A superficial “fix” is no fix at all. Rebar, epoxy, and concrete, engineered specifically for the job are required to restore structural integrity, applied skillfully by a trained craftsman.”
The only trained craftsman that can help you to build and sustain a strong relationship foundation is Jesus Christ and he can only help you if you choose to OBEY him.
(Written on 30th April, 2020)
Building with untempered mortar reminds me of the time when mankind decided to build the tower of Babel.
Genesis 11:3-4 states:
- “And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”
They were busy building this tower and the motive seemed noble on the surface but they did not include God in it. They did not consult with God to find out if they should build it and if so, how they should go about doing it. It was not his will that the tower be built but yet, in their own warped sense of self-sufficiency, they set about to build it. In their pride, they said: “…let us…” and “…let us make us a name…”
The results were disastrous. Much like the outcome of everything we set about to build and every foundation we erect without Jesus, all their efforts came to nought.
The tower of Babel could be likened unto that grand vision that a person has for his or her life, which involves marrying that particular person, having children, having a lovely home, a lovely job and living happily ever after. However, as stated before, the Word of God states in Psalm 127:1, that: “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it…”
You’re going to make a cake without the flour? It will flop! You’re stubbornly intent on building a life for yourself without Jesus, the very source of life, love and success? It will flop!
Any plans that we make that do not involve the Lord or where he is not at the centre and where we have not sought his counsel, will come to nought. It will be brought down. For, although we think ourselves to be something, in truth and in fact, we are not. We need the Lord Jesus to guide us, to help us, to keep us and to help us make good decisions. This is why waiting on him to work out HIS purposes in our lives is so important.
Nothing worthwhile or beautiful will ever be achieved for God’s glory from that union with that man, if you did not consult with God to find out first of all if he was a Christian and if he was God’s will for your life. The same is true if you turned your back on God and wanted nothing to do with his Saviour the Lord Jesus but went out on your own and thought you could build a successful life for yourself according to your own dimensions. How has that worked out for you thus far?
You went ahead and consulted yourself and even your ungodly friends but you failed to consider God. You failed to act in accordance with his Word the Bible and the instructions he has clearly laid out there. The only thing you can expect to reap from that union therefore is failure.
Alas, what you have built based on your own so-called wisdom, while neglecting God was built with untempered morter. As the Word of God stated to the Israelites in Ezekiel therefore:
- “ …it shall fall: there shall be an overflowing shower; and ye, O great hailstones, shall fall…I will even rend it with a stormy wind in my fury; and there shall be an overflowing shower in mine anger, and great hailstones in my fury to consume it. So will I break down the wall that ye have daubed with UNTEMPERED MORTAR, and bring it down to the ground, so that the foundation thereof shall be discovered, and it shall fall…”
Jesus, knowing that he was the sure foundation upon which everything beautiful and worthwhile is to be built, urged his followers in John 15:4-5:
- “Abide in ME, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in ME. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in ME, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without ME ye can do nothing.”
In Hosea 14:8-9, God uttered similar sentiments through his Prophet. He stated:
- “I am like a green fir tree. From ME is thy fruit found. Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.“
Finally, in Proverbs 8:32-36, wisdom, whose beginning is THE FEAR OF THE LORD, cried:
- “Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me findeth LIFE, and shall obtain FAVOUR of the Lord. But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love DEATH.”
(ADDENDUM written on 25th February, 2021)
Dear Reader, if you found the above Article to be interesting, informative, beneficial or edifying, you may also be interested in reading the following:
- Note 259 – ‘God The Master Builder’
Additionally, under the ‘BROKEN Daughters’ Page:
- Note 34 – ‘Wisdom Is The Principal Thing’