By Dr. Larry E. Banta
Over the years and in several countries, I have been involved in many building projects. Most were for clinics and hospitals I was involved with; only one was for my house in the bush of Africa. Though I know very little about how to actually build something, I do know that it needs a proper foundation. Otherwise, the building soon will fall down.
A few years ago, while I was living on a 30-acre ranch in Idaho, I wanted to put an equipment shed on the property. The soil was very sandy to a rather significant depth. The builder insisted that the building would be anchored fine with some pegs that went only 2 feet into the sandy soil. I argued that we lived in a place that had the name Sand Hollow for a reason. He insisted it would be fine.
Only a few years later, with a strong gust of wind the entire 48’x56’ shed uprooted and moved across the driveway, taking out an electric pole, the transformer for the entire area, and a couple of good-sized trees. The builder lost a good deal of money cleaning it up and rebuilding it with proper foundation and anchoring.
It is very evident at the current time that the family is falling apart. There are so many challenges bombarding the family unit that divorce is more and more common, as well as child abuse and domestic violence. Of special concern is that so many children are not turning out well. More and more they are becoming confused and looking for fulfillment in drugs, crimes, perverse sexuality and other destructive behaviors. This leads to their own destruction and to sometimes early death.
The foundation is lacking. Families are no longer being built on a strong foundation that can withstand the pressures and be victorious.
Without a firm foundation, the structure does not stand. Without a firm foundation, our families will not survive in this hostile, difficult world.
There are two choices to build on: a faulty foundation or a strong foundation.
The faulty foundation: This is a foundation that is not solid, not built on anything permanent, just ideas with made-up morals and rules. The world wants to design a paradise leaving God out. The foundation has no real structure. When real questions of life are considered, like our origin, morality, purpose, identity, and our destiny, there is no clear direction; it has to be made up along the way.
One’s origin, on this foundation, is that I somehow evolved therefore there is no God. I am the highest authority over me. I can be whatever I decide I want to be.
Morality built on the faulty foundation supposes that I can decide what is wrong or right if I feel it is wrong or right, and that can change from day to day depending on how I might feel.
My purpose in life, then, is very vague but mostly that life is such that I need to be having fun, becoming as rich as possible, do all I can for myself to have a good life. I need to find myself, looking to drugs, sexuality or other pursuits to find out who I am. It is all about ME.
My destiny is back to the dirt where I came from, which leaves very little hope. Some make up stories about what they think might happen after death, but these are only stories, not based in any truth.
It is sort of like having one’s feet planted firmly in the air.
Character of the faulty foundation – godlessness in the last days: “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.” — 2 Timothy 3:1-8
Fruit of the faulty foundation: “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.” — Galatians 5:19-21
The faulty foundation produces fruit that does no one any good; produces harm to the person, family, society and culture.
Satan’s plan is to spread mistrust: to convince us that the Bible is not true or not completely true. That you can decide what is true and not true. He wants to promote self-interest: I am number one, I deserve, I need, I want. He tries to make sin acceptable: “Surely God will understand, my sin is not really that bad.” By taking God out of the family, Satan promotes violence, anger, conflict, and dilutes the authority of the parents. Values and morality are according to how the person feels about them. Once he has his way, the family is used for his purpose and destroyed.
In other words, Satan’s plan for us is: doubt, distraction, deception, deployment, destruction.
The strong foundation: When presented with something we need to assemble or repair, we are far better off to read the instructions so we can complete the job properly. The way to build a strong foundation is in the great instruction book about life: God’s Word.
“Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.” — Luke 6:48
Fruit of the strong foundation: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” — Galatians 5:22-26
God has given us instructions in His Word that are for our good and for the good of our world. The strong foundation of His Word gives us the operating instructions for ourselves, our family, and our church. We can find in the Word the true answers to life’s most important questions.
Origin: We were created by an eternal God. He made us how we are, with our talents and abilities.
Morality: We have a rule book, the Bible, which tells us what is right and wrong and how we should manage our lives.
Purpose: It is to worship and serve our God.
Identity: We are God’s children, adopted into His family, when we accept Christ as our Savior.
Destiny: Heaven, where we will live with God eternally as one big FAMILY.
God’s plan for His people is that we build and strengthen our families on the solid rock of Jesus. He wants not passive parents but active parents who pass along the faith and values to the children. Our goal must be that our children grow into productive committed Christian adults who will in turn pass it on to their children.
Dr. Larry Banta is an author of several books, a retired psychiatrist, and a former missionary. He served in India, Mexico and Kenya. He and his wife, Evelyn, a counselor, travel together to provide consultation and training in various international locations.