In 2010, researchers simulated a category 3 hurricane to test the strength of two houses—one built according to normal construction standards for the region and the other built with a reinforced roof and floors. The researchers turned on giant fans to create wind gusts of 110 miles per hour for more than 10 minutes.

The house that was built according to conventional standards was severely shaken and it eventually collapsed. In contrast, the house with the reinforcements survived with only a few cosmetic damages. An engineer working on the experiment summarized the results with a sobering question: “The [question] you have to ask yourself is: Which house would you rather be living in?”

Concluding His teaching on the attitudes and behavior of kingdom living, Jesus told His listeners the tale of two houses (Matthew 7:24-27). He said that obeying His teachings (Matthew 5–7) is akin to being a wise builder who constructs his house on bedrock (Matthew 7:24). Even when fierce winds blow, the house will stand tall (Matthew 7:25).

In contrast, the person who hears but doesn’t obey is likened to a foolish man who builds his house on a sandy foundation (Matthew 7:26). When the big winds blow, the house will collapse (Matthew 7:27). Each house may look secure, but a severe test will reveal the true quality of the builder’s work.

In telling this parable, Jesus presents two options: You can build your life on the solid foundation of genuine obedience or on the unstable sand of external righteousness.

Let’s humbly practice receiving Jesus’ teaching. Hearing and applying it will make for a healthy spiritual life. May we seek God’s wisdom as we strive to get our “house” in order!

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Joshua 3:1-17