Many Christians are living the Christian life with a desire to be obedient and faithful. As they go about their daily activities, there is often little evaluation of what type of foundation they have been building their lives on. Although we may not be actively involved in a building project, every person is building their lives with various materials from which they hope to gain security. Many of our lifestyles are lived as though there are no consequences. Often, it seems that all of the blessings of God’s forgiveness and favor will never cease. We live in a self-centered world, where things are done to either be popular or avoid unpopularity. However, when one realizes that their lives are built on something other than Jesus Christ, this can be very dangerous. This study looks at some things of which we should evaluate if they are being built into our lives: friends, money and possessions, reputation, goals, and power.

In Nehemiah 4:6-7, we see a contrast between the ungodliness of the enemy and the godly focus of the people trying to complete a project. In the midst of great opposition, they “all worked with one hand, and held a weapon in the other, and the builders” (NKJV) were doing their work while listening to the taunts from those who wanted them to fail. But, here is what I find interesting in verse seven: “But the builders took their water from the old pool, which was near them; so they gave the builders timber.” It appears that the Jews were working together despite the efforts to stop them. They did not give up! And the enemies were working against the project but with more vengeance than ever before. They probably felt their plans would succeed. However, notice where the builders got their strength. Verse 7 reads: “They gave the builders timber,” as the people labored for the benefit of all.

What power the builders received made the difference between success and failure. The old pool was considered by many to be useless, but there was water there and it was fresh! The water of the Word of God (with its promises and warnings), along with prayer, was like life-giving water. Just as the ancient well was well known by the people of the area, so must we know God and His Word. Only then will we be able to face difficult decisions because we will have had time to choose between those things of the world and God. This is important for believers to consider, for each of us is building a life based upon some material. Without realizing it, our whole lives hang in the balance of whether we put our trust in earthly friends or in Jesus.


There are two ways Christians look at friendship: first, they look at the kind of friend they want to be, and second, they look at the kind of friend they need. Both of these are aspects of our Christian experience that show the kind of friends we should keep company with. In Psalm 25:15 we read of someone that David wants to be: “My eyes are fixed upon You, O Lord, in expectation….” David shows us the characteristics of a true friend. We can learn much about what constitutes a good friend and what must always characterize our relationship with anyone—trust. When you have friends like these around, it is easier to meet your responsibilities and fulfill your duties.

On the other hand, the type of friend you need comes through the words of Jesus from John 15:13-15: “Greater love has no one than this, that one lays down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No olnger do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. ” Here Jesus makes an observation about friendship: we have to meet the standard that He sets. That requires that we accept Him as Savior, grow in our Christian life, and live as He instructs us to. All of this is possible only when we know that we are saved on the basis of the finished work of Jesus Christ at Calvary. Then we can trust friends such as David describes (Psalm 25:10-15) and fulfill our responsibilities to our Savior as the Scriptures demand.

Money and Possessions

Money and possessions can be useful. When used properly, they can accomplish many worthwhile purposes. Paul comments on how one’s relationship with God should influence how we think about money and possessions in his letter to Timothy. In I Timothy 6:8 he states: “It is of great value to me to be greatly benefitted by you always, knowing your state of faith, which first existed in yourself, was closely guarded by my coming to you. Guard this richly!” Of course, the concept of riches goes beyond just money. When we have rich and fruitful relationships with God’s people, we ourselves are being enriched! So, money and possessions are to be spent on things that will bring outward benefits, as well as add to our spiritual wealth.

One of the dangers of being blessed by God is that we become overly concerned about getting things our way. Each of us has different needs, desires, and ambitions. Sometimes what we want are things like security for our families, health for ourselves, or some greater knowledge of how God works. While it is quite proper to ask Him for certain things we need, the danger is that we may come to God with wrong motives or selfish agendas. Perhaps some of us come to God wanting Him to make things easy for us. Maybe we complain to God because we feel entitled. We could ask Him to remove the troubles from our lives because we do not want to deal with them. However, sometimes this is really asking God to do things our own way.


The third question that I want to examine concerns the importance of reputation. A good name is necessary, but it must be based on things above the self—the realities of the ages rather than the anxieties of the oment. Proverbs 22:1 reads: “A good name is to be chosen rather than riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold.” One has the temptation to think of a reputable person as being well thought of socially by their peers. Certainly it is the case when James states in chapter 3:16, “For where envy and self-seeking exist, there is disorder and every evil practice.” James is writing about those who do things seeking prestige and honor from others. Yet, as Jesus reminds us in Matthew 16:19, there is a respectability that comes from being committed to Christ. This is illustrated in Colossians 1:27-2:2, where we find Paul states: “to whom God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory … I proclaim it to you also, so that you may be wise as to what is good, and innocent as to what is evil.” What we see in the New Testament is that the early believers showed the same character even though they knew the dangers involved. They could say with Paul that their “desire was to please the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:9).


The question of goals is especially appropriate for Christian workers, and we might even question its significance and purpose as long as we set realistic goals. First Peter gives us the great instruction of II Peter 1:11,12, where we read: “For so an entrance shall be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” It is helpful to remember that we have both an immediate goal (verses 3 through 10) and a future goal, the eternal kingdom. What we do now must correspond to the desires we have for eternity. Ultimately we want to possess God in His fullness, both the Spirit and the Son. Our ultimate goal is not limited to our job performance, a new car, or improved health. We have our family relationships and our social status, but we also seek to serve God to perfection and conform to His Word.

We are interested in the goal of the Christian life: the love of the Father and the Son to come through each of us in our personal lives and church history. When the gates of pearl open, that is when we will appreciate the wisdom of sharing our lives with God’s children. There is joy in the fellowship of salvation, and there is joy in anticipating eternity. God loves to give His blessings to those who believe. But, this means we must not stmuble or fall because of difficulties. Christ is the Alpha and Omega, and He will complete our salvation (Revelation 2:8).

When we understand the value of what we hold dear, we become focused upon what really matters most. Then we can answer the following questions clearly: What am I searching for? What have I found? Is this enough? It takes courage to search deeply for what really counts—to figure out what our lives are built upon. In looking at our fin